The dust hasn't settled quite as yet over the recent events
in Syria, the allegations against Bashar Assad for gassing innocent babies and
the United States' "measured and proportional" surgical strike to punish him for
that heinous crime. But there is
enough light passing through the dust to give us reasons to question the whole
Questions that come to mind include the following:
1-Why would the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, order such an attack with no strategic benefits, using banned chemical weapons against a handful of innocent civilians and risk international condemnation?
2-Did Russia actually fail to remove all the stockpiles of these weapons from Syria as agreed in 2013?
3-Should Russia, and also Iran by extension, be held complicit and responsible for allowing Assad to carry out the alleged attack?
4-What was the real motivation behind President Trump's decision to launch a missile strike on the Syrian airfield used by the Syrian aircraft responsible for the alleged gas attack?
5-Was it just a coincidence that within one week after the announcement by the White House that military action against Syria and the removal of Bashar Assad were no longer the objectives of the US Administration, that Assad supposedly took measures to force Mr. Trump to change that newly adopted policy?!!
6-Why do the mainstream media, from the Far Right (Fox) to the Middle Right (CNN, MSNBC, and the rest) as well as the entire US Congress on both sides of the isle (with the exception of very, very few) take it as an indisputable fact that the Syrian regime was responsible for the gas attack?
7-Why is it that every reportage on this incident includes the phrase: Assad gassed "his own people"; as though gassing other people, including the terrorists, would have been more acceptable or legal under international law?!!
8-Finally, who are the beneficiaries and who are the losers in the aftermath of these recent events in Syria?
Like everyone else, I was sickened by seeing on television those heart-wrenching videos of tiny children gasping for air and dying because of exposure to poison gas in Syria. I had seen similar pictures some thirty years ago showing the same gruesome carnage in far, far greater scale in the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988, where some 5000 people died because of Saddam Hussein's deadly sarin and mustard gas attack.
I also recalled how tens of thousands of Iranian troops were exposed to these poison gasses, from 1984, through 1988, during Iraq's war against Iran. Among those who survived these attacks was my own young half-brother who witnessed the carnage, and two brothers of a close friend of mine, both functionally disabled and still suffering from the effects of those toxins and under continuous treatment by Iran's veterans' affairs organizations.
Now, let us try to answer the questions, one by one:
1- Of what potential benefit, strategically or otherwise, could it have been for Mr. Assad to launch a chemical attack against a rather small community of people comprising mostly of civilians and children? This is reminiscent of a similar episode in 2013, when a community in the Syrian capital, Damascus, suffered a gas attack, while a fact-finding committee from the United Nations was visiting Mr. Assad to investigate such allegations - wow, what perfect timing! Just like the current case, there was no question that gas attack had taken place; but why or by whom remains the question. It would have been stupid for the man who was accused of that horrible act, just like the current case, to order or approve of such attack at that exact time.
It make a hell of a lot more sense that the 2013 case was a false-flag operation; and that the current case resulted from the explosion of the terrorists' ammunition depot that the Syrian plane had targeted.
2- and 3- If we know for sure that the Russians had actually failed to remove the entire stock of chemical weapons from Assad's arsenal, deliberately or through negligence, then much of that supply must have been stored in weapons' bunkers in that airfield and available to the Syrian aircraft now accused of deploying them. If that assumption is correct, targeting those weapons' storage bunkers by the American Cruise missiles would have risked releasing a considerable amount of those toxins and inflicting carnage to the nearby populations. It is even more of a mystery that we do not hear anything about the stockpiles of chemical weapons in the hands of the Syrian opposition forces and ISIS or Da'esh, which they have been using nonstop? How could the Russians have removed the rebel forces' supplies of chemical weapons before their defeat or surrender and the end of that civil war? So, when our UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, and other high profile officials comment as-a-matter-of-factly that the Russians, either deliberately or through their incompetence, failed to remove all of Syria's chemical weapons' stockpiles, you wonder where they left their brains before appearing on the television news programs!
4- and 5- Was it really the overpowering humanitarian feeling or the emotional grief that triggered Mr. Trump's response? One report has it that it was Trump's heartbroken daughter, Ivanka, who urged her father to take action after seeing the video of the dying infants on TV. Of course Ivanka was just a toddler herself when the even more gruesome photos were shown nationwide of the babies, children, women and men, lying dead by the hundreds in the Iraqi Kurdistan's village of Halabja, as our America's pride, Ronald Reagan, looked the other way and simply acquiesced to Saddam's use of poison gas!
The pretext Mr. Trump used to legally justify the attack was the ridiculously farfetched claim that it was to protect the security of the United States! This claim sounded as phony as the pretext used to install anti-missile batteries in some East European states to defend against incoming ballistic missiles from Iran aimed at our Western allies, as well as potentially at the United States! Everyone, including the Russians, knew that that deployment was aimed at Russia, and in violation of the anti-missile defense shield agreement between the two nuclear superpowers.
So, what kind of political game was played in President Trump's response to Mr. Assad's alleged use of forbidden weapons "against his own people" before the facts were even known as to who was responsible for it? Was it to test Assad's, or the Russians' reaction to an American military assault against a sovereign state in violation of International law? Interestingly, there are many commentators among the international news media who are suggesting that the whole episode was staged to boost Mr. Trump's prestige as a man of action, and to show that he is not Russian President's puppet. That to me is as ridiculous an argument as what others have proposed that Bashar Assad wanted to test America's reaction if he launched a chemical attack on "his own people!"
6- and 7- The Iranian President, Rouhani, after condemning the chemical carnage in Syria, is demanding that an independent international agency should investigate the whole issue. He is obviously skeptical, as are many others, of the Western media's propagandist assumptions in their reportage that Assad was guilty as portrayed. And, ever wonder why in almost every single account of the gas attack the reporters insist on using the phrase, "his own people"? Might this be a way to convey the message that Assad hates "his own people", or that "his own people" hate him?!
There was a very interesting interview on CNN with Representative from Hawaii, Tulsi Gabbard. The battle between the well-known Zionist attack dog, Wolf Blitzer, and the soft spoken Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard was worth more than the price of the high definition TV set I watched it on.
She happens to be one among a very short list of Congressional members who has not been bought and paid for by the various lobbies, foreign or domestic, and is not indebted to "dark money" sources. I highly recommend the readers to open the above link, read and watch the CNN interview. Ms. Gabbard is also the author of the bill presented to the Senate, titled Stop arming the terrorists act.
8- I learned early on to look forensically for the entity that stands to gain the most, as in a murder mystery, to find the culprit in complicated and confusing political scenarios. Who stands to gain the most in the chaos that we see being created, perpetuated and intensified in the Syrian, as well the Iraqi theaters?
There are several players actively involved there; some directly engaged on the ground, and some masterminding and contributing to the affairs from the outside, near and far.
Rather than go into details here, I urge the reader to click on the link to my article of February 4th. (Thanks for the internet!)
I continue to maintain my portrayal of Donald Trump as a narcissistic megalomaniacal clueless clown. But I also believe that he is an independent thinker and, being a billionaire in his own right, he does not feel beholden to any lobby or special interest group. He is certainly not Vladimir Putin's puppet on a string! However being an independent thinker and being clueless at the same time does present a problem for the new President. Mr. Trump does, in my opinion, want to make America great again, the phrase that he repeated throughout his campaign and that he honestly holds true to his heart. The problem is that he has no idea how to go about accomplishing that task. He certainly enjoys looking at the large panorama of a lush, green golf course in front of him, but is uninterested and unaware of the details of what it takes to keep the lawns lush and green and gopher-free! He has to rely on the wit, wisdom and expertise of people around him; but as a businessman he has learned to be skeptical about the true motives behind their advice.
There are two forces at work around the President, competing to steer his foreign policy in their desired direction. One group, perhaps masterminded by Steve Bannon, prefers to disengage from involvements in the spreading global conflicts as much and as soon as possible and, instead, to focus on the internal security and prosperity of the nation, regardless of what kind of mess is left behind in the Middle East and elsewhere after decades of disastrous policies and misplaced alliances.
The opposing group is intent on pushing America's foreign policies, particularly in the Middle East, in directions that would perpetuate the division and unrest in that region for reasons that I highlighted in my Feb. 4th piece referenced above. The scale seems to be tilting in favor of the latter group!
I cannot help but feel sorry for the Clueless Clown; and am
more concerned about what might be in store for us on both sides of the globe.
About the author:
Kambiz Zarrabi is the author of In Zarathushtra's Shadow and Necessary Illusion.He has conducted lectures and seminars on international affairs, particularly in relation to Iran, with focus on US/Iran issues. Zarrabi's latest book is Iran, Back in Context.
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