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Syria and the Brinkmanship Presidency – 3 – 103 Missiles to Destroy the Evidence

April 17, 2018

2013 U.K. demonstration opposing U.S. orchestrated war in Syria to partition the country. They chanted “USA Shame On You”

Writing with his usual insight, acumen and honesty, Jim Wall, in his latest column , argued that the U.S.-U.K.-French bombing of Syria was “designed to distract.” (1) While I believe Wall is on to something important, his article fails to elaborate: designed to distract from what? Still, he’s got a point and a big one. So let’s fill in a few blanks here. As usual, a military strike of this size – 131 missiles is no small attack – as a number of short goals – all of them short-term, none of them with any strategic or even much tactical value to speak of. So…let’s state some of the more obvious – already being raised in the media now here and there:

  1. The bombing was a distraction from Mueller’s mounting investigation which is closing in on Prez Trumpty-Dumpty
  2. It gives the new team of Trumpty-Dumpty, John-The-Bully Bolton and Mike-the Islamophobe-Pompeo a chance to strut their stuff. And since the only stuff they know how to strut is war, it should come as no surprise that shortly after the team was installed, that the U.S. would engage in a military strike, which much pomp and little to no strategic value somewhere, anywhere. 
  3. Trumpty-Dumpty knows – as did George W. Bush – that for all their whining, mainstream Dems in power love a war (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria) as much as neo-con Republicans and will support him for the most part (as they did in this case). Thus the domestic opposition to his failing, policies is somewhat weakened.
  4. Now that the (again fabricated) crisis with North Korea ha temporarily died down, Washington (the Trumpty-Dumpty Administration) needed a new political target for its brinkmanship, as brinkmanship is all they have as a foreign policy. It was easier during the Cold War days. Just cry “Communism” and all those liberals and conservatives stood at attention, saluted the flag and cheered on the troops until too many of them came home in body bags. Those where the good old days; it’s a bit harder keeping up the fear in this new era of the permanent “war on terrorism.” Still, provoking North Korea is also provoking China and as China has some weapons – both military and economic – with which to counter U.S. threats – and as the Trumpty-Dumpty Administration is little more than bullies and bullies know when they’ve met their equal – the crisis with North Korea died down, I presume after China stuck it to Trumpty-Dumpty in no uncertain terms.
  5. But Washington’s brinkmanship machine is always hungry; it always need some kind of fuel to keep going. And so Trumpty-Dumpty turned back to Syria. To taunt Syria is also in their itty-bitty minds to also test Iran and Russia – adversaries of some strength but not as strong as China. Furthermore, turning on Syria again would give hope and energy to that recently revealed (but actually very old) alliance between Washington, Tel Aviv and Riyadh.
  6. He is under pressure from the other two elements of the current (un)holy trinity (Trump, Netanyahu and Saudi Crown Prince Salman) neither of which are in a position to attack Iran militarily, to use the military lever in the Middle East and in so doing, give these two encouragement to pursue their divisive regional policies. Both the Israelis and Saudis were almost jubilant, cheering on the missiles. Next stop Iran?
  7. Of course the Israelis and Saudis would have liked to have attacked Iran,…that’s the goal of course, but for a variety of reasons, ie. Iran in 2018 is not Iraq in 2003; still such a show of power is a warning, a provocation to Iran (and Russia). Israel and Saudi will not move militarily though unless under a Washington umbrella.
  8. At least in part, the timing of the missile attack was meant to take the world’s attention off of the continued Israeli military’s massacre of Palestinian Gaza civilians who have protested now three Fridays in a row – peaceful demonstrations that have been met by Israeli snipers picking off the demonstrators – the fifty or so killed, several thousand wounded.
  9. As argued in recent blog entries, a key purpose of the bombing is to “distract” from the fact that in Syria, the United States and its allies lost in their effort to overthrow the Assad government and to partition the country. (The Doha Protocols).
  10. The bombing is a way of punishing the Assad government (and its allies) for not having won the war, not capitulating. It announces to the world that although the war in Syria (fought by proxies) is lost, that the U.S. will continue to bomb and punish the country despite the fact that such attacks have no political goal (other than punishment).
  11. It was also a way of testing new weapons systems. What better way to see if weapons can kill people than to test them on people, Arab people in particular. This seems to be a great U.S.-Israeli tradition – testing new weapons systems on the Arab peoples, in Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen (and who knows where else). Here one should note that in the Yemeni case there is some suggestion that the Saudi’s might have used a tactical nuclear “device” – otherwise known as a weapons of mass destruction.

And who knows how many other factors were involved.

In the main though…actually this missile strike on Syria was actually about something else – a rather inflated way to destroy evidence. It’s a kin to killing a mosquito with 2000 pound bomb – ie. – overdoing it with the violence, 131 missiles is more than a bit excessive. But then the very scope of the operation – the many  targets that were hit – hides the fact that the United States was quite worried at what U.N. inspectors might not find investigating the allegations that the Assad government had used chemical weapons against its own people.

Had such a finding – based on the evidence – resulted, that Assad had not gassed his own people – than the whole pretext for military action would have been undermined, making Washington, London and Paris looking foolish at best, war criminals more likely. It is more than incidental that one of the main targets of this missile strike was precisely at the site where the alleged chemical attack took place and that missiles were fired the day before the U. N. inspectors would be on-sight to conduct their investigation.

Robert Fisk, intrepid Middle East correspondent and long-time expert on Middle East politics takes this argument even further. In a widely circulated article originally published in the British Independent, Fisk interviews several people from Douma, Syria,  where the chemical attack allegedly took place, who claim that there was no chemical attack and that the people of the neighborhood went about as they would any other evening. If this is the case, then the incident is a complete fabrication, pretext for the bombing.

Robert Fisk, intrepid Middle East correspondent and long-time expert on Middle East politics takes this argument even further. In a widely circulated article originally published in the British Independent, Fisk interviews several people from East Gouta, where the chemical attack allegedly took place, who claim that there was no chemical attack and that the people of the neighborhood went about as they would any other evening. If this is the case, then the incident is a complete fabrication, pretext for the bombing.

With the evidence thus destroyed, it would no longer be possible to determine for certain what was becoming increasingly likely – that the incident was fabricated. Certainly this episode followed what is now a well-warn pattern that goes something like this:

  • It starts with feigned allegation with no evidence. The weirdest, and in many ways most revealing comment along these lines was U. S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis’ comment to the effect that “no, there was no evidence that Assad had used poison gas…but he was pretty sure they’d (the U.S.) would find it.
  • The pretext – which has a long cynical history in the case of all three aggressors – the U.S., France, U.K. – is humanitarian intervention. This utter guff, long favored by neo-cons, is also popular with certain of their liberal (and slightly left) allies, as was the case for the 2003 Iraq invasion and the 2011 overthrow of Khadaffi in Libya.
  • The allegation is repeated ad nauseam by U.S. allies – in this case, the in-house idiot was France’s Emmanuel Macron who claimed the evidence Assad did gas his people was there (but he wouldn’t share it with the public)
  • Before the unproven allegation can be investigated, and without consulting with Congress, or either the British or French parliaments, the president(s) declare some kind of emergency powers, and behind the screen of feigned “moral outrage” orders a military strike.  The mayor of Naples said that the submarine that fired the missiles at Syria “is not welcome” at the Naples port. Italy hosts an estimated 13,000 American soldiers across six bases, including the Navy complex in Naples that houses US Naval Forces Europe and the Sixth Fleet.

The current likely fabricated pretext for this missile attack against Syria essentially follows that scenario. Keep in mind that this is not the first time that unproven allegations of the Assad government gassing its people were utilized as pretext for a military strike. In 2012, the same pretext was set in motion. To his credit, he does get a point now and then, Barack Obama did not take the bait. It was never proven at that time that Assad had used chemical weapons. Nor was it proven last year, when almost exactly a year ago, on April 7, 2017 that Donald Trump ordered a Cruise missile strike on a Syrian airfield.

In both cases the allegations were proven to be untrue, more cynical pretexts for military action. But pretexts in this day and age, when rational explanations are lacking, are important as is the war cheer-leading section of a pliant mainstream media, much of the Democratic Party leadership , pro-Israel fanatics like AIPAC and Christians United for Israel. It matters little – even less than was the case with the build up to the 2003 invasion Iraq based on the lies of Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction – that the pretexts are phony as events take place too swiftly for the American people to immediately digest the horror that has become U.S. foreign policy.

Finally, let’s note that despite the “operation” – as it is called was hailed as “mission accomplished” by the Trumpty-Dumpty Administration, it was anything but. In fact it backfired politically. In Syria it strengthened – as such bombing attacks tend to – support for the Assad government. It did not intimidate either Iran nor Russia in the least. It fired increased opposition to the U.S. in Iraq and even little Lebanon at a recent meeting of Arab countries stood up to Saudi Arabia and refused to condone the bombing. It appears that it has created complications for Macron in France whose popularity is plummeting for other reasons as well and now British Prime Minister Theresa May appears to be in trouble for not having consulted Parliament.

Nor does it appear that it has produced its desired domestic effect of giving a boost to Republican candidates in the upcoming mid-term elections. The whole thing was a dude – like Trumpty-Dumpty’s business interests.

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1.  Highly recommend Jim Wall’s blog “Wallwritings” on U.S. machinations in the Middle East with an emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. One of the better, if not the best, and most consistent and accurate sources of news for Americans trying to understand the complexities of the situation.

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Links:

Syria and the Brinkmanship Presidency – 1

Syria and the Brinkmanship Presidency – 2 – The Mayaguez Phenomenon

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Bill Conklin permalink
    April 17, 2018 4:07 pm

    Thanks, Rob, for the continuing analysis. It seems that the original colonizers of the Near East, France, Britain and the United States want to be sure to keep their foot in the pie, in order to maintain the supply of petroleum and make their Capitalist oil companies rich. My biggest worry however, is that the Golden Golem of Greatness (Kunstler’s name for Dumpty Trumpty) is obliterating the War Powers Act and congress doesn’t care. In other words, the King Trump and his successors will be allowed to start a war at anytime or any place without congressional approval. That is incredibly dangerous. We are a world full of “Nukes” and we are going to give one psycho the power to wield them. I hear the Palestinians plan to burn Israeli Flags this Friday. I implore them to take all their old cloth and have their seamstresses make a bunch of “red, white and blue” flags to burn to, the parent of the Israeli Psychopaths shouldn’t get off the hook.

  2. April 18, 2018 3:24 pm

    Yes, Rob, thanks for assembling so much history and analysis in one short series. Keep it up. John

Trackbacks

  1. Syria and the Brinkmanship Presidency – 1 | View from the Left Bank: Rob Prince's Blog
  2. Syria and the Brinkmanship Presidency – 2 – The Mayaguez Phenomenon | View from the Left Bank: Rob Prince's Blog

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