Lanterns: Syrian Chaos - Through the Looking Glass


Syrian Chaos - Through the Looking Glass

If you are feeling bewildered and confused by all the conflicting versions and scenarios interwoven in the complexities of recent developments in the Syrian civil war, well, you are a reasonable person. 

For those who assert with religious zeal and certainty that they know exactly what the situation is, I would like to remind you that the same media who is feeding us information crafted in cooperation with allied governments, coordinated with the same NSC and intelligence agencies who urged the actions in the first place, and they have a long history of prepping populations to go to war under dubious circumstances.  Take the Spanish-American War, and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine, for example. The United States wanted an excuse to go to war with the Spanish, and when the Maine was blown up in the Havana Harbour, they used that as an excuse, even though it was never proven that the Spanish sank the ship.

Unless, of course, you happen to be on the side who gave greater credence to the foreign media, such as Asia Times and others who present the Russian and Iranian perspectives. How can we possibly unravel this mess and draw any useful conclusions when we have two major vested parties offering precisely opposite story lines? 

Obviously, we’re being lied to by one, or more likely, both parties. That the global mainstream media would mislead and flat out lie to their audience, well, let’s just say, it is well within their range of customary practice. The fact is, in the clearing fog of the intensive global propaganda war over Syria, some things are clear enough now to understand and analyze.

First, what actually happened? 

Let’s look at what we are being told. The Pentagon’s version is that Assad attacked Syrian civilians with chemical weapons, violating international law and “crossing the red line” previously drawn which was ignored by the Obama administration in 2013. The Pentagon’s version received very rare universal and unquestioning acceptance by the Western global media, curiously, even in the US where the media has been relentlessly attacking the Trump administration on virtually every issue and every point.

However, this version comes with some challenges that should be scrutinized before swallowing completely. First, how is it that Syria had chemical weapons when after the 2013 attack (later learned to be perpetrated by Syrian rebel forces – not Assad), the US National Security Advisor and the US State Department certified that absolutely no chemical weapons remained in Syria. In addition, the Pentagon does not attempt to offer any motive for Assad to launch such an attack just days after the Trump administration announced that the Syrian conflict could be resolved without regime change and that Assad could remain as its leader—  and certainly the tide has turned in favor of the Syrian army in the war against ISIS backed rebels (who by many reports, are foreign Islamist mercenaries).

Adding to these questions, it is at least curious that the BBC (notoriously supportive of Islam in its reporting) was immediately on site and ready with a deep documentary style report on the attack with a production quality that resembles a well-planned filming. It seems odd that they just happened to be in the neighborhood.

Scarcely reported, if at all in the western media, is the categorical denial by the Assad regime or the Russian version of events. The Russian version is that the Syrian air force struck a chemical weapons factory that rebel/terrorists (ISIS) were using to make and deliver to terrorist operatives in Iraq and that they were the same weapons proven to have been used by them (the terrorists) in Aleppo in 2013. Frankly, the story passes the smell test considerably better than the Pentagon’s version. However, to find a balanced presentation of both versions, you have to go outside the western media. This is one source that details both versions:

Regardless of which of these two versions of events is correct (if either one of them is fully true), Trump ultimately made the decision to follow the unanimous recommendation of the National Security Council, obviously believing the Pentagon version of events, and authorizing a limited military strike on the airfield from which this chemical attack was alleged to have originated.

Adding to the mystery, in the official statement, the US said that we realize the Syrian government continues to have chemical weapons of mass destruction or mass murder and is able to use them.

Whoa – what?

We recently certified that they did not. So if there are now chemical weapons in Syria again, that would lend credence to the Russian claim that Syrian rebels/terrorists are manufacturing them. Also troubling about that statement affirming that the Assad regime continues to possess this capability, is the implied threat that further action may be on the table.

Now we have the likes of John McCain and Lindsey Graham making appearances on previously hostile US mainstream media shows, making the case for sending ground troops into Syria to topple the Assad regime. They are joined by a chorus of liberal Democrats in the Senate and House – as well as the once hostile media. The consensus being manufactured here is that Assad is a really bad guy and must go (a complete reversal of Trump’s stated policy just three days prior). 

To be sure, by all accounts, like his father before him, Assad is a brutal dictator and runs a tough regime that rules over various conflicting social and ethnic groups with varying ideologies, including Syrian Christians. Assad’s government is secular, although he is Alawite, which is a sect within Shia Islam – thus the Iranian connection. There are very credible reports from within Syria from Christian religious leaders who say that the only thing standing between them being slaughtered by Islamist terrorists (presumably of the Sunni variety) and being able to live in relative peace, is the Assad government and air force.

Over the last eight years of the Obama regime, we have seen the US policy in the Middle East become a policy of promoting Islamic fundamentalist revolutions in previously quasi-stable nations such as Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Yemen, and, of course, the US has backed the “Free Syrian Army” which seems to be a collection of Islamists including ISIS mercenaries. From this perspective, it appears that the US has chosen to promote yet another regime change in a troubled Middle-east Muslim state so as to install a fundamentalist regime, like the one Obama installed in Egypt – immediately after which Christians in Egypt were slaughtered like animals.

The questions regarding Trump’s move here are simple. Has Trump been “converted” to the idea that regime change in Syria is mandatory, thus reversing his previously stated position? Is the US being stampeded into a ground war in Syria by elements of the Obama regime still in power within the agencies and Pentagon?  Or, is this truly a “one and done” demonstration to all players in the region that the US is “back in the game?”

Time will tell. On the bright side and perhaps a larger part of Trump’s calculation in authorizing this limited military strike is that he has gained instant credibility globally as a leader who is not afraid to take decisive action. Clearly, that has lasting value. This action may also send a signal to the North Korean military leadership that it is time for them to move against Kim Jong-Un, and could possibly even persuade Kim Jong-Un to stand down his near daily threats of a nuclear attack on the US.

Finally, the timing was ideal for this action to occur during the visit of the Chinese leader and may have played a part in the positive spin bot Xi and the Chinese state media have put on that visit. Trump had a very good week indeed last week, and if he is able to resolve the rumbling tensions with the Chinese and de-escalate the rhetoric there going forward, that spells tremendous value in many aspects. It provides an immediate counter-balance to the Russian/Iranian alliance and could bring together the power of the world’s two largest economies in cooperation.

The risk here is that Trump fails to control the ambitions of those advising him to advance the Obama agenda in Syria and replace Assad. What is needed now is for Americans to recognize that just as Trump pointed out earlier, it is for the Syrian people to decide their leadership and that should not be derailed by the US entering the conflict on either side. We should continue to cooperate with the Russians in eradicating outside forces like ISIS – who may very well have been doing precisely what the Russians have said.

Written by Clark Albritton

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