Is President Obama’s proposed attack on Syria, a continuation and amplification of the Bush attack plan for keeping Iran from going nuclear?
I am have a great deal of difficulty determining the end-game strategy of President Obama’s willingness to unilaterally commit an act of war by attacking Syria without Congressional approval or international cover.
Part of this difficulty comes from the fact that there is no “apparent” advantage for the United States in pursuing such an attack, and that there is a great deal of “apparent” disadvantage.
One, it does not appear, at least on the surface, that any American interests are at stake. Certainly Syria has not declared war on America and there appears to be no imminent attack plan. The only people that might benefit from such an attack on Syria by the United States are: the opposition with its Muslim Brotherhood and al Qaeda components; Saudia Arabia who would see another Shia sect, the Alawites, removed from power and possibly be ethnically cleansed by the opposition; and Qatar who wants to build a natural gas pipeline across Syria.
Other than the disadvantage to the United States, Syria would be definitely disadvantaged, our ally Israel would be disadvantaged, Russia would be disadvantaged, and Iran and Hezbollah would be disadvantaged, But, perhaps that the whole point: Iran and Hezbollah would be disadvantaged.
Blame it on former President Bush?
In May 2007, a presidential finding revealed that Bush had authorized CIA operations against Iran. Anti-Syria operations were also in full swing around this time as part of this covert programme, according to Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. A range of US government and intelligence sources told him that the Bush administration had "cooperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations" intended to weaken the Shi'ite Hezbollah in Lebanon. "The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria," wrote Hersh, "a byproduct" of which is "the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups" hostile to the United States and "sympathetic to al-Qaeda." He noted that "the Saudi government, with Washington's approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria," with a view to pressure him to be "more conciliatory and open to negotiations" with Israel. One faction receiving covert US "political and financial support" through the Saudis was the exiled Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. <Source>
Is this the “secret of Benghazi?”
"The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria," wrote Hersh, "a byproduct" of which is "the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups" hostile to the United States and "sympathetic to al-Qaeda." <Source>
Apparently the Obama Administration, including President Obama himself, is willing to lie to the American public about what happened on the anniversary of the original 9/11 terrorist attack on America in Benghazi, Libya. Could it be that the administration was attempting to hide a covert joint CIA/State Department operation that supplied heavy military weaponry, including anti-aircraft missiles, to known al Qaeda-linked terrorists for use in Syria. And, that this arming of international terrorists could have severe political and criminal ramifications if it was ever “officially” acknowledged. Such arms were to flow through Sunni-majority Turkey; perhaps the reason for Ambassador Stevens last meeting with the Turkish Ambassador.
But there must be a compelling reason for America to strike Syria: the chemical attack on civilians …
Think about it carefully. Assad would be crazy to use chemical weapons against a civilian population. Not only would it draw an immediate reaction from the international community, but it would mark Assad as a potential war criminal to be captured and tried in a military tribunal in an international setting or killed. The opposition would likewise by crazy to use such weapons as they would lose significant support from the international community. It is also unlikely that low-level commanders would use chemical weapons without authorization from Assad as to do so would mark them for instant execution, possibly by their own command with its embedded political operatives.
Which leaves false flag operations.
By definition, a false flag operation is a covert affair that sees on participant mount an offensive act and blame it on the opposition. Because, even under the strictest security, major operational details usually leak with the help of spies or political dissidents “in the know,” it is a very risky maneuver with a high degree of being discovered. Which brings us to a false flag conspiracy theory that may be the real answer or nothing more than a way to increase the audience of certain publications that make a handsome living by “exposing” so-called conspiracy theories.
The theory: The rebels used chemical weapons, ostensibly obtained from an unknown third-party, an attempted to mount a false flag operation to damage Assad by bringing the United States into the conflict to make good President Obama’s “red line” warning and to spare Obama from the political embarrassment of an inept leaders who “leads from behind.”
Did Saudi Intelligence Operatives supply chemical weapons to a third-party to mount a false flag operation to be blamed on Assad?
Part One: Are the Saudis and Qataris bankrolling the opposition and supplying conventional weapons with U.S. Assistance?
Syrian rebels claim receipt of major weapons shipment -- Militia leaders say hundreds of tonnes of ammunition and some light weapons allowed across Turkish border in past three days
Rebel groups in Syria's north say they have received their largest shipment of weapons yet, in a fillip to an anti-government campaign that had stalled for many months. Leaders of militias supported by backers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar say several hundred tonnes of ammunition and a limited supply of light weapons were allowed across the Turkish border in the past three days, in what they said was the first large-scale re-supply since earlier this year.
The weapons are believed to have been sent by Saudi Arabia and Qatar and were warehoused in Turkey for many months. Senior rebel commanders contacted by the Guardian say they did not include anti-aircraft missiles, but several dozen anti-tank rockets were among them. <Source>
Part Two: There are unconfirmed anecdotal reports of chemical weapons being supplied by the Saudis …
Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week’s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad’s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
“From numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families….many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the (deadly) gas attack,” writes Gavlak. (back up version here).
Rebels told Gavlak that they were not properly trained on how to handle the chemical weapons or even told what they were. It appears as though the weapons were initially supposed to be given to the Al-Qaeda offshoot Jabhat al-Nusra.
Part Three: Is the source credible?
Caveat: this story was not published under the auspices of the Associated Press and any reference to the Associated Press was used as a means to demonstrate Gavlak’s journalistic credentials.
Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News. Gavlak has been stationed in Amman, Jordan for over two decades. An expert in Middle Eastern affairs, Gavlak currently covers the Levant region of the Middle East, contributing to the AP, National Public Radio, BBC and Mint Press News, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.
Anybody can say anything …
It is unknown if Gavlak’s reporting of third-party accounts is credible because anyone can say anything for any particular personal or political motive. But it is known that the New York Times did run a story that indicates that obtaining proof of what chemical weapons were used, what delivery system was used, and who used the weapons is not an easy task.
United States intelligence under the Bush Administration has been wrong before; and, under Obama, might be wrong again …
U.S. Facing Test on Data to Back Action on Syria
The evidence of a massacre is undeniable: the bodies of the dead lined up on hospital floors, those of the living convulsing and writhing in pain and a declaration from a respected international aid group that thousands of Syrians were gassed with chemical weapons last week.
And yet the White House faces steep hurdles as it prepares to make the most important public intelligence presentation since February 2003, when Secretary of State Colin L. Powell made a dramatic and detailed case for war to the United Nations Security Council using intelligence — later discredited — about Iraq’s weapons programs.
More than a decade later, the Obama administration says the information it will make public, most likely on Thursday, will show proof of a large-scale chemical attack perpetrated by Syrian forces, bolstering its case for a retaliatory military strike on Syria.
But with the botched intelligence about Iraq still casting a long shadow over decisions about waging war in the Middle East, the White House faces an American public deeply skeptical about being drawn into the Syrian conflict and a growing chorus of lawmakers from both parties angry about the prospect of an American president once again going to war without Congressional consultation or approval.
American officials said Wednesday there was no “smoking gun” that directly links President Bashar al-Assad to the attack, and they tried to lower expectations about the public intelligence presentation. They said it will not contain specific electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or detailed reporting from spies and sources on the ground. <Source>
And even the latest news has positive assertions, but suspicious intelligence sources …
Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013
The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting.Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence – but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s analysis of what took place.
Syrian Government Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21
A large body of independent sources indicates that a chemical weapons attack took place in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. In addition to U.S. intelligence information, there are accounts from international and Syrian medical personnel; videos; witness accounts; thousands of social media reports from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area; journalist accounts; and reports from highly credible nongovernmental organizations.
A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children, though this assessment will certainly evolve as we obtain more information.
We assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition.
Our high confidence assessment is the strongest position that the U.S. Intelligence Community can take short of confirmation. We will continue to seek additional information to close gaps in our understanding of what took place.
<Source – The White House>
Translation: The United States intelligence community believes they know what happened, but cannot confirm it. Sort of like the WMD’s in Iraq? Given the pro-Arab, pro-Saudi stance of the Obama Administration and the Director of the CIA, there is something to be concerned about if this issue is really about Syria and not Iran. Notice that the specifics, such as the nerve agent used, is missing and that the quoted “sources” often have an agenda of their own and can be highly unreliable people attached to credible organizations. The fact that the government has a specific count of the victims makes me doubt the credibility of this report.
You will also note that unlike previously declassified intelligence reports, known as NIEs (National Intelligence Estimates), this one is unusually titled “Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013.”
But one of my big questions: why were the people handling these bodies not wearing protective gear or, at least, respirators with filters?
Bottom line …
I have no clue to what really happened in Syria. But, the one thing that appears to be true is that Iran, a state-sponsor of international terrorism, continues to build its nuclear capability. So, if the United States intelligence agencies know that Iran is close to building a military-grade nuclear weapon, why the subterfuge and covert situational finessing of Syria? Why not just continue to build military assets in the region – in plain sight -- and strike Iran directly. Surprise. Surprise.
“Nullius in verba.”-- take nobody's word for it!
“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”-- George Bernard Shaw
“Progressive, liberal, Socialist, Marxist, Democratic Socialist -- they are all COMMUNISTS.”
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius “A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell “Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar “Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS
“The key to fighting the craziness of the progressives is to hold them responsible for their actions, not their intentions.” – OCS
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius
“A people that elect corrupt politicians, imposters, thieves, and traitors are not victims... but accomplices” -- George Orwell
“Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt." (The people gladly believe what they wish to.) ~Julius Caesar
“Describing the problem is quite different from knowing the solution. Except in politics." ~ OCS