Sunday, August 25, 2013

Obama's Bloody Red Line in Syria

Last August, President Barack Obama made a surprise appearance for a regular White House press briefing to warn Syrian President Bashar al-Assad not to cross a "Red Line" and use chemical weapons in their civil war.

Nearly a week has passed since there was a chemical attack in Syria that left at least 1000 dead.  While the US has moved warships into the region and the President warned that reports of a Syrian chemical attack was "a big event of grave concern",  nothing affirmative has been done.

In fact, a White House spokesman had the temerity to joke about Red Lines in Egypt.  Alas, it is not the first time that Assad government forces have used chemical weapons.  There was an attack in December 2012, which the White House did not confirm until June, 2013 that chemical weapons were being used. 

Our choice in Syria seem to be lose/lose/lose.  If the US does nothing and Assad wins, we enhance Russia's domain as they have heavily backed Bashar al-Assad.  In addition, American inaction diminishes whatever remains of Obama's foreign policy credibility concerning crossing "Red Lines".

 Supporting the rebels not only engages US in an international conflict, it also means backing rebels who are Al Qaeda, who are in reality our enemy in the War on Terrorism, which we have conveniently cancelled but jihadist Islamist still consider US the Great Satan. Even though Senators John McCain ( R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have embraced our newest best buddies in the Syrian Rebels as videotaped surfaced of their leadership being literal cannibals on the battlefield.

If the US were able to conduct a surgical strike to take out or secure chemical weapons storage sites, it brings up the inconvenient truth about from where these chemical weapons stockpiles came.  During the 2008 Presidential campaign, candidate Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) reveled in criticizing President George W. Bush for getting engaged in a dumb war with Iraq which did not threaten us or involve terrorists which attacked us.  As Democrats harped on the "Bush lied (about WMD) and people died" mantra, candidate Obama opined that Iraq was not giving chemical weapons to terrorists.  Oh, just storing it in the Bakkah Valley and allowing state terrorists to gas their own people.

Between Benghazi, Wikileaks and the NSA spying, the penchant for perfidy for the Obama foreign policy has eroded credibility at Foggy Bottom thereby leaving it open to sensational charges. RT reports the Russian Foreign Ministry line that the "alleged chemical attack near Damascus might have been a planned provocation in advance.  The theory is that the rebels might have used the weapons themselves and made it look like Assad forces committed the atrocity so that western forces would be prompted to help the rebels. Aaron Klein noted that there were reports of the lasted alleged Syrian chemical attack the day before it happened. The same sort of stunt was alleged to have been planned for last year .

LBJ Sec. of Defense Robert McNamara explaining Gulf of
Tonkin  incidents, August 4, 1964
It is tempting to dismiss the report because of the news source RT.  But a false flag operation is not unprecedented.  Former LBJ Defense Secretary Robert McNamera admitted later in life  that the "attacks" which prompted the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution never happened, but which escalated the US military involvement in Vietnam.  And the way that this Obama Administration conducted itself with the Benghazi bungle lends more credence to a conspiratorial tact.

American engagement in the Middle East is usually messy but it need not have been lose/lose/lose.  Had the Obama Administration shown leadership a couple of years ago in Syria, the rebels might not have been as badly infected with Al Qaeda influence. But Obama was proud of the Duty to Protect and leading from behind in Libya  and another foreign engagement might have looked bad going into his re-election campaign. It was great to talk tough during the campaign against Chemical Weapons, but it was risky business to do something provocative before the election or right after.  Thus, Obama's words were but wind and Assad assessed that Obama was a paper tiger.

So it seems whether or not the Obama Administration acts in Syria, it will be a bloody decision.

h/t: Michael Ramirez

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