Syria Situation Stinks of Neoconservative Meddling, Misinformation, and Possible Escalation
Here we are again, another run-up to another war in the Middle East. As the mainstream media remains obsessive over the latest Stormy Daniels-Trump related controversy or James Comey’s immature book tour, the winds of war in Syria and beyond are picking up the pace with each passing day.
Just as the U.S. failed to wait for confirmation that Saddam Hussein had WMDs in 2003, we are again not waiting for the facts to come out, having already reached a foregone conclusion.
Bomb first, ask questions and get answers later
There’s a good chance we’re being lied to about the chemical attack in Syria, so wrote Darius Shahtahmassebi in Anti-Media a week ago. Almost a year ago to the date, President Trump ordered a bombardment of a Syrian government airbase in retaliation for a chemical weapons attack that in February of this year was confirmed to lack any credible evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for using sarin gas. Then last weekend, Trump launched missiles again, before any objective examination could be completed, “effectively bombing the evidence required for such an investigation,” Shahtahmassebi pointed out.
The misinformation campaign is in full effect. Many experts in the chemical weapons field have disputed the “evidence” the U.S. and others have referred to. Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter and Theodore Postol, in addition to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, have questioned the fact that Assad again used chemical weapons on his own people. Reuters recently reported that U.S. officials still had “not yet conclusively determined whether the attack was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian government forces.” U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May initially came out and told the U.S. that they required more evidence before joining the American-led airstrikes in Syria. Guess she didn’t need all that much to convince her though.
So, on Friday the 13th here in the states and the early morning hours of Saturday the 14th in Syria, the U.S., U.K., and France launched more than 100 missiles at presumed chemical weapons facilities in Syria. What a coincidence that the “chemical attack” surfaced just days after the Trump administration signaled it was ready to get American troops out of Syria. “Are we to believe he really is a moron or that he really is that evil?” Shahtahmessebi asked.
Russia stated that it had “incontrovertible” evidence that British foreign intelligence helped stage the April 7 “chemical attack,” as reported by ZeroHedge on Monday. Russia’s representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said Russia had conclusive evidence that there was no chemical weapons incident in Douma.
“Therefore, we have not just a ‘high degree of confidence,’ as our Western partners claim, but we have incontrovertible evidence that there was no incident on April 7 in Douma and that all this was a planned provocation by the British intelligence services, probably, with the participation of their senior allies from Washington with the aim of misleading the international community and justifying aggression against Syria.”
The Russian representative went on to say that the U.S., U.K. and France are far from interested in seeing an objective investigation through to the end. “They put the blame on the Syrian authorities in advance, without even waiting for the OPCW mission to begin to establish the possible facts of the use of chemical weapons in Syria,” he said. The OPCW team is on the ground in Syria today, but have encountered difficulties in gaining access to the sites.
In reality, the dubious “White Helmets,” one of the anti-Assad “humanitarian groups,” staged the whole thing. Not surprisingly, the White Helmets are funded mostly by the United States
Thankfully, Trump chose a less dangerous option. According to a recent RT report, the president initially wanted to bomb Russian and Iranian targets, but Pentagon chief James Mattis stepped in and talked him out of it. One option included a “narrow” strike that would have hit “Syria’s chemical weapons facilities.” Another, the most aggressive, proposed bombing Russian air defenses in Syria to “crippled the regime’s military capability without touching Assad’s political machinery.” Not taking neoconservative warhawk John Bolton’s advice, Trump approved of a “hybrid plan” that launched 100+ missiles on three targets in Syria on three sites that were vacant and resulted in no reported casualties as of this writing.
Is a war in and around Syria imminent now?
“A Dangerous New Era Dawns,” reads Gerald Seib’s recent headline in The Wall Street Journal delving into the increasing potential for conflict between the U.S. and Russia or China or both. John Sawers, former head of British intelligence service MI6, spoke of doom and gloom surrounding the events in Syria: “For the first time in living memory, there is a realistic prospect of a superpower conflict.” The U.S., the world’s number one superpower (for now), is currently confronting both an assertive Russia and increasingly aggressive China.
China is a rising power that is ramping up its military capabilities in both the South China Sea and Central Asia. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin is establishing the former Soviet Union as a force to be reckoned with, committed to becoming an equal with the U.S. again on the world stage. Putin is propping up Assad while also protecting his influence in Ukraine from American meddling. China, on the other hand, is hell-bent on modernizing its military in a frightening and fast-paced process
American military activity in the Middle East hints at a possible wider war especially now that Bolton’s office is down the hall from President Trump. On Sunday, 4,000 American troops joined the Jordan Army for the Eager Lion 2018 military exercise which includes land, sea, and air forces. 3,000 are from Jordan’s military.
Today marked the official opening of Eager Lion 2018, the premier US-Jordanian joint military training exercise. #USAinJO #EagerLion18 pic.twitter.com/IanrI9Nalh
— U.S. Embassy Jordan (@USEmbassyJordan) April 15, 2018
Last week, Arkady Savitsky wrote in Strategic Culture that the U.S. is set to launch a “sustained operation in Syria.”
This large-scale operation will launch once the USS Harry S. Truman carrier strike group reaches the shores of Syria before the end of the month. On April 10, President Trump put off his visit to South America in order to focus on the Syrian situation. The perfectly timed chemical attack narrative prompted Trump to bite and back off from his recent mention of pulling American forces out of Syria, letting Russia and Syria continue to fight ISIS and other extremist groups terrorizing the nation.
The pros of a U.S. invasion or escalation in Syria would paint the American military as a defender against authoritarian regimes and restore confidence in America’s competency in nation-building after catastrophic failures in Iraq, Libya, and Afghanistan.
There are many cons to U.S. involvement in Syria, the most apparent being that Russia will “not stand idly by if the lives of its servicemen were threatened,” wrote Savitsky. American troops and planes in and over Syria would spike the possibility of direct war with Russia and Iran. As Iran gets stronger across the Middle East, Russia elevates its status as a major player on the world stage. If America’s Assad-toppling nation-building strategy fails, Russia would certainly become a force to be reckoned with, something the neoconservative military industrial complex will fight to the death to deny.
A three-front war with Russia and China? AND a devastating direct confrontation between Israel and Iran?
The Pentagon appears to be planning a three-front long war against Russia and/or China, Michael Klare posited in MintPress News earlier this month, writing, “a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia.” God help us if that is the case. Klare’s evidence points to it being absolutely certain.
A struggle for geopolitical power and influence is underway between Russia, China, and the United States. American military leaders have committed to a “three-front geopolitical struggle to resist Chinese and Russian advances in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East.”
In Asia, China’s development of intermediate-range ballistic missiles and advanced warships is troubling to the U.S. These missiles could easily hit American military bases in Japan or Guam, and the ships will challenge the U.S. Navy’s dominance off China’s coast and eventually throughout the western Pacific. Commanding PACOM Admiral Harry Harris Jr. recently said, “China will surpass Russia as the world’s second-largest navy by 2020.”
Harris further stated that we must solidify our alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, and Australia to counter China’s rising military might and “reinforce the free and open international order.”
In Europe, Army General Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of EUCOM, declared that Russia is a threat to American security interests in Europe that cannot be ignored. Echoing a Cold War-era mindset, Scaparrotti insisted that we must “deter Russia from engaging in further aggression” and exercise “malign influence over our allies and partners” to defend against this purported Russian aggression.
To contain Russia as we did during the Cold War, EUCOM’s strategy consists primarily of the European Deterrence Initiative (EDI), an Obama-implemented initiative after the Russian seizure of Crimea in Ukraine. The EDI is aimed at strengthening the already sizable U.S. and NATO forces on the front-line states of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. The Pentagon’s proposed February budget reflected this by allocating some $6.5 billion to the EDI next year. Furthermore, approximately $200 million will be devoted to a Pentagon “advise, train, and equip” mission in Ukraine.
The Middle East contains perceived threats from both Russia and China. CENTCOM commander Army General Joseph Votel confirmed its mission to contain Russia and China now and in the near future: “The recently published National Defense Strategy rightly identifies the resurgence of great power competition as our principal national security challenge and we see the effects of that competition throughout the region.”
Russia supports Assad militarily and has proven its military capabilities. China has a port at Gwadar in Pakistan on the Indian Ocean and has recently completed a base in Djibouti on the Red Sea, across the Bab al-Mandab Strait from Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Such facilities display China’s “military posture and force projection” and signal a challenging future for the U.S. military. Despite President Trump’s insistence of U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria once extremist elements on the ground are soundly defeated, it appears abundantly clear that U.S. military leaders have another plan in mind to maintain a sizable presence in those countries and possibly even more. This would ensure a dangerous geopolitical game in Central Asia among the world’s three major military powers.
Since the revolution in Iran in 1979, Iran and Israel have been fighting each other through proxies across the Middle East. However, an Iran-Israel war appears to be boiling above the surface, according to Thomas Friedman of The New York Times. Iran’s Quds Force seems dead-set on turning Syria into a forward base from which to attack or pressure Israel, which naturally wants to prevent that from happening.
But over the last couple months, we have seen for the first time Israel and Iran attacking each other directly with its own militaries.
The first round of the escalating fight was on February 10 when an Iranian drone was shot down by a missile from an Israeli helicopter over northern Israel. Israeli Army spokesman Brig. Gen. Ronen Manelis, said the flight path and Israel’s analysis of the drone indicated that “the aircraft was carrying explosives” and that its mission was “an act of sabotage in Israeli territory.” This reveals the scary fact that Iran is ready to attack Israel directly. A new and potentially game-changing trend.
Round two occurred on April 9 when Israeli jets launched a counterattack on the T4 airbase in Syria where the Iranian drone was launched from, marking the first time an Iranian facility was targeted in an Israeli strike. Seven members of the Quds Force were killed, including the drone unit’s leader. Israel refused to confirm or deny the raid while Iran has vowed revenge.
Will there be a Round 3? The Israeli military is committed to preventing Iran from establishing a presence in Syria from which massive missile attacks could be launched into Israel. On Tuesday, Israel’s government put out maps to its news organizations pinpointing five Iranian-controlled bases in Syria. Iran has been building bases and missile factories in Syria in recent months after assisting the Assad regime in expelling the rebellion against him in an effort to clench its Shia fist around key areas of the Sunni Arab world. “The Quds Force now more or less controls — through proxies — four Arab capitals: Damascus, Beirut, Baghdad and Sana,” according to Friedman.
Iran has not hit back at Israel yet, but stay tuned for the next round.
The situation in Syria is tragic, but is the Trump administration making it any better by challenging Iran and Syria’s influence in the country? What is our national security interest in intervening in Syria? What is our grand strategy in Syria? Why must we challenge Russia and China in every theater around the world?
The neoconservative cabal in DC does not want you to ask these questions because you will not like the answers.
Follow me @BobShanahanMan
War of Truths: Multiple Reporters on the Ground in Syria Say No Chemical Attack
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