Russia says that Syrian “attack” reports preceded the event


(graphic used by Powell at the UN to "prove" the existence of non-existent Iraqi BW weapons)

"Materials implicating the forces of Syrian president Bashar Assad in chemical weapons use near Damascus were prepared prior to the alleged incident on August 21, the Russian foreign ministry said.
Moscow continues to monitor closely the event surrounding the “alleged” chemical attack near Damascus, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Aleksandr Lukashevich, said in a statement.
“We’re getting more new evidence that this criminal act was of a provocative nature,” he stressed. “In particular, there are reports circulating on the Internet, in particular that the materials of the incident and accusations against government troops had been posted for several hours before the so-called attack. Thus, it was a pre-planned action.”


Well, well …  Tell me how this is different from the machinations of the Bush "Iraq Group?"  Tell me.  Tell me why the government stooges who claim to be journalists
confidently assert that "we all know" that the Syrian government did this.  Tell me.  pl

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96 Responses to Russia says that Syrian “attack” reports preceded the event

  1. Petrous says:

    Very unfortunately there are many more than “3 stooges” reporting this point of view.

  2. Matthew says:

    Col: Doesn’t all this presuppose that the Russians will just “take it”?

  3. pmr9 says:

    The reports that videos were uploaded before the supposed time of the attack (3.30 am local time on 21 August) may result from confusion about time zones. The reports appear to be based on a video at where the web page shows a date of 20 August (presumably US time) but the feed shows an upload time of 03.40 UTC on 21 August, which is 6.40 am in Syria. So it’s possible that the videos are genuine, even though it’s highly unlikely that the Syrian government would have used chemical weapons just as the UN observers arrived in Damascus.

  4. Is the US monitoring message traffic [electronic] in Syria and if so it must know whether the Russians are correct or am I missing something?

  5. marcus says:

    “Tell me.”
    No need to tell anyone. The Iraq group is the template. The Neocons paid what price for this?
    You want to talk about lenient punishment for crime? This is rewarding crime.
    Very similar to the banking system: We gambled, the general public paid for our mistakes, let’s do it again!

  6. JohnH says:

    As-safir reports that Russian satellites tracked the origin of the attack to a rebel held area:
    “The Russian said that the rockets, two of the manufacture of domestic and carrying chemicals, set off from the area controlled by «the banner of Islam», led by Zahran Alwash, the most prominent forces of the armed opposition in Gota.” [Google translate]
    However, the West is sitting on this information, as it trashes their narrative about Assad using chemical weapons and would portrays rebel forces in a bad light.

  7. old gun pilot says:

    Next we’ll be hearing of how the Syrian government is buying yellow cake from Niger.

  8. confusedponderer says:

    Just wait, and there will be some Syrian Curveball coming Assad’s way:
    “My main purpose was to topple the tyrant in Syrian because the longer this dictator remains in power, the more the Syrian people will suffer from this regime’s oppression”
    Or a Syrian Chalbi:
    “We are heroes in error … as far as we’re concerned, we’ve been entirely successful. Our objective has been achieved. That tyrant Assad is gone, and the Americans are in Damascus. What was said before is not important.”
    The anti-Assad regimes in the West and Middle East don’t bother becausde they are happy with everything as long as they can pin it on Assad. Doesn’t need to be true as long as it sticks.
    This is an opposition information operation, and on top of that, a war crime they have comitted against the Syrian civilians. Wer’re speaking of really unsavoury people obviously. Did I say “what was said before”?
    “That tyrant Assad is gone, and what was done before is not important.”

  9. no one says:

    Who could imagine that head hunter cannibal jihadis might martyr some civilians in an attempt to save their losing cause? Unthinkable!
    Yes. I would think that with all of the intelligence assets focused on the area, from satellites to signal interceptions to humint, it shouldn’t be too difficult to ascertain exactly who did what to whom with regards to the chemical weapons attack. My guess is that the truth is already known to both Russian and the US governments.

  10. Pat Lang,
    The whole thing is such an obvious scam that the only way the media could present it as factual is if they are being told to do so. It is quite reminiscent of the invade Iraq campaign of late 2002 and early 2003.

  11. The beaver says:

    Interesting argument :
    “First, why would the Syrian government use chemical weapons on such a scale while there is a strong team of UN inspectors in Damascus? That would be foolish and reckless.
    Second, why would the Syrian army use non-conventional arms when it had already gained the upper hand in Ghouta, a strategic suburb, in the past nine months? The town has been besieged and under constant attack by the Assad forces – they have recently launched a major assault to recapture on the suburb. A few days ago the Syrian National Coalition released a public statement naming Ghouta mintaqa mankuba [a disaster area] and calling on the international community to pressure Assad to allow food and medicine to be delivered to the besieged neighbourhoods.
    Third, why would Assad utilise chemical weapons at this stage and bring about a potential western military intervention? His decision to allow the UN to investigate the earlier alleged chemical attacks was designed to neutralise the opposition’s calls for direct western intervention.”
    I guess that since the Ramadan is over, the salons in those hôtels particuliers in Paris 16 must be buzzing with booze and how to get rid of Assad.
    Fabius and his minions at Quai d’Orsay are working hard to go to war (need to sell those Rafales to these ME Sunni countries btw) – wonder what is happening in the hotels in London.

  12. Matthew says:

    JohnH: If we have real press corps, someone would ask the President, “If the rebels used poison gas, are you going to attack the rebels?”

  13. Would Assad and others who are shaping Syrian government policy trust the UN inspectors to be impartial?

  14. Al Arabist says:

    Yes the admin plays electorate for fools using Iraq playbook, the koolaid AND same ignorance of nationalism. Asad’s role as nation guarder counts in Syria even if he goes on abusing his people like he does. He’ll welcome enemies as long as is the only commander of Syria’s armed forces, defender of borders.

  15. Stephanie says:

    I would suggest that the difference is that the Bush Administration, led by the president, was determined to go to war in Iraq, probably even before 9/11, and would use or manufacture any pretext in order to do so. There seems to have been little if any internal dissent on the end or the means. That isn’t true here; everything points to confusion on objectives and disagreement on the means. I don’t know if the Obama Administration would want to use that as a defense, however.
    In both cases there’s arrant dishonesty on display, but it seems to me we’re not yet at “mushroom cloud” proportions. Emphasis on the “yet.”

  16. seydlitz89 says:

    Greetings Col Lang-
    Yes, agree, their actions do much to reveal a glimpse of the actual structures of power, from a strategic theory perspective of course. Could it be that most of the noise we’re hearing is outside the White House rather than in? The Neo-con’s and R2P’s last gasp before BHO kicks the can down the road yet again . . .

  17. Tony says:

    It is interesting to see how France and Britain have so actively been involved in both Libya and Syria. Given the economic conditions in both countries, I am curious to see what they desire by ousting Gaddafi and Assad.

  18. steve says:

    @ William Fitzgerald
    Yes, there was a 5 minute-long Assad-is-a-chemical-using-monster hatefest on msnbc at mid-morning, bolstered by the kind of certainty that can only come when newsreaders are reading from a government supplied script.

  19. Lord Curzon says:

    Old stomping grounds – the US has neither the language or the experience to walk into the crowd and achieve their aims.

  20. eakens says:

    We’ve been trying to eliminate Syria as being an ally of Iran for some time now; well before the Arab spring.

  21. mbrenner says:

    In summary, it seems that this is where we are:
    1. We don’t know what happened except that there were many casualties.
    2. No one is in a hurry to find out what happened – except those parties who know what action they want taken or don’t want taken.
    3. There are a few neutral parties but they either are very slow to move (UN) or can’t get access (a few competent, impartial NGOs).
    4. This is frustrating

  22. turcopolier says:

    “Life is hard and harder when you are stupid.” “Sergeant Striker in ‘Sands of Iwo Jima’)” I don’t mean you. Don’t kid yourself. Russia and the US know exactly who it is that did this, whatever that is. Russia has intercepts and satellite photography ansd so does the US. This is why the Russians are pushing for UN inspection of the location and why Obama is being so cautious. The CIA says that there is still a good deal of doubt as to what happened and who done it. I predict that at some point the NYT will have a hell of a story. pl

  23. CK says:

    And as usual for the NYT, after the deaths and the damages are satisfactorily completed, they will report that story as a 4 year old retrospective of “errors were made.”

  24. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    My belief is that every hour that goes by with the BHO administration not taking action on this alleged sarin attack – means that this administration , unlike the previous administration is not taking These United States to war under false pretenses. My further belief is that in not taking the bait of the alleged Sarin attack by Assad ; also means that BHO administration is still course correcting and in fact is climbing down from the Assad Must Go demand . To me it just ‘feels’ different then the run up to the Iraq invasion. I do not see or hear any one in my daily dealings with the public that even remotely supports a Syrian intervention . Rather I hear the majority of comments saying that this alleged sarin attack is a prevarication .We shall see.

  25. Fred says:

    The salafists have figured out they are losing but they (and or their backers) believe that they are perfectly capable of beating Obama enough to make him take action. That gives them more than enough reason for an arbitrarily high number of murders. The R2P crowd hasn’t shown any concern about any of the Christian communities being attacked in Syria (what has Samantha Powers done to end that? Oh, yeah, nothing.) Why should the ‘rebels’ care about ‘collateral damage’ that gets the US to actively intervene? As you say, martyr’s, unwilling ones though they be.

  26. mbrenner says:

    I wish that I could share your confidence in both the competence of our intelligence agencies and in their insularity from political influence. The same for the Russians. A casual perusal of recent history suggests, though, that the record is mixed on both counts.

  27. robt willmann says:

    Pumping up the propaganda against Syria this evening (23 August), CBS News says that the Pentagon is making the “initial preparations” for a cruise missile attack on Syrian government forces, and such an attack won’t happen “until the president gives the green light”. Gen. Dempsey is “expected to present options for a strike at a White House meeting on Saturday”.
    Most outrageous is president Obama saying, “If the U.S. goes in and attacks another country without a U.N. mandate and without clear evidence that can be presented, then there are questions in terms of whether international law supports it; do we have the coalition to make it work; those are the considerations that we have to take into account.”
    The former lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago and CBS News have apparently forgotten the U.S. Constitution, article 1, section 8: “The Congress shall have power … To declare War ….”
    In their minds, the president is the one who declares war in conjunction with “international law”, whatever that might be, and some “coalition”, “to make it work”.

  28. Medicine Man says:

    On the off chance that your “Tell me” is not rhetorical, I’ll take a stab at this Col.
    One of two possibilities:
    1) The hawks in Washington are trying to fix the intelligence, just as their right-wing predecessors did.
    2) The hawks and interventionists in Washington are so certain that their biases will inevitably be confirmed that they have rendered themselves brainlessly credulous. They are begging to be lied to, so long as the lies flatter them.
    Six of one…

  29. Medicine Man says:

    I hope you’re right. Some faith in BHO’s ability to make noises and then do nothing is perhaps warranted.

  30. Medicine Man says:

    I’ll cut the President some slack on his assumption that war making decisions are entirely on his shoulders. His merely statements reflect reality that Congress has abrogated those duties a long time ago. I personally think they’re in the process of abrogating their duty to provide oversight to the Executive branch too.

  31. JohnH says:

    Now As-Safir is reporting that Russia and the US have reached an understanding. Kerry and Lavrov have agreed to let the UN do its work and investigate Ghouta. The thinking is that Lavrov must have gotten prior aporoval from Assad. That will put the onus on Kerry to deliver the rebels and to let the UN into Ghouta and give them safe passage. (Fat chance!)
    Apparently there are “Geneva 2” meetings upcoming at the end of the month and in October. The US had been delaying, hoping that the rebels would be in a stronger position. That has not happened. It makes you wonder if the chemical attack was intended to derail Geneva 2.
    Has Obama blinked?
    Meanwhile the NY Times is full of war talk. It makes you wonder why they can’t find out what’s going on just like I do. When they finally get around to that great story on the chemical attack it Ghouta, it may be all over but the shouting, which seems to be the Times SOP…

  32. Bill H says:

    All of which, if true, makes the “Assad must step down” and the “red line” nonsense all the more stupid and difficult to comprehend.

  33. Bill H says:

    You do recall Libya?

  34. Lord Curzon,
    ‘Old stomping grounds’ — like Iraq, where MI6 and Sir John Scarlett successfully cleared the ground for the U.S. to fall into Chalabi’s trap, and hand the country over to Islamist Shia close to the clerical regime in Tehran.

  35. JohnH,
    I see As-Safir is also carrying what purports to be a detailed account of the talks between Putin and Bandar in July. There is a great deal of interest in it, but two paragraphs struck me:
    ‘A diplomatic report about the “stormy meeting” in July between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan concluded that the region stretching from North Africa to Chechnya and from Iran to Syria — in other words, the entire Middle East — has come under the influence of an open US-Russian face-off and that “it is not unlikely that things [will] take a dramatic turn in Lebanon, in both the political and security senses, in light of the major Saudi decision to respond to Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian crisis.”’…
    ‘At the bilateral level, Bandar relayed the Saudi king’s greetings to Putin and the king’s emphasis on the importance of developing the bilateral relationship. He also told Putin that the king would bless any understanding reached during the visit. Bandar also said, however, that “any understanding we reach in this meeting will not only be a Saudi-Russian understanding, but will also be an American-Russian understanding. I have spoken with the Americans before the visit, and they pledged to commit to any understandings that we may reach, especially if we agree on the approach to the Syrian issue.”’
    (See )

  36. Tony,
    There is zilch public support in the UK for getting involved in Syria. It is interesting to look at the comments on the report in the Telegraph of Hague professing absolute confidence that the attack is the work of the Syrian regime.
    The ‘best rated’ comment as of this writing — 172 endorsements — is relatively mild: ‘Very worried by our politicians jumping to conclusions probably because it suits their agenda.’
    The second, with 139 endorsements, reads:
    ‘Hague is a puppet of the globalist agenda. I wonder what they’ve got on him to make him dance to their tune. As such, I don’t believe a word he says.
    ‘Assad is far from perfect, but he’s a damn sight better than the western backed FSA. Assad is not stupid. Why would he shoot himself in the foot by using chemical weapons. He doesn’t need to. He is winning. Only the rebels would benefit from the use of chemical weapons, by garnering support, (even more support) from the west.’
    Other comments get a great deal more abusive. The scale of the collapse in confidence in the integrity and competence of our ruling elites here is extraordinary.
    (See )

  37. Alba Etie says:

    Perhaps there should a Russian member of the weapons inspectors sent by the UN .

  38. Alba Etie says:

    I recall how Bushcheney made the weapons inspector leave Iraq just before the bombing started by the “coalition of the willing .. ”

  39. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    Is the Assad government denying access to the latest alleged sarin attack site ? Or is the rebel forces denying access to the alleged sarin attack site ?

  40. Al Arabist says:

    American bureaucrats have the language but lack deep background in dealing with narcissistic grandeur of Arabs in power.

  41. turcopolier says:

    Al Arabist
    very few of them are any good at the language. This also true of those who have trained in the language. I was often asked to interpret for them. I frequently refused and told them to learn to do their own work. pl

  42. turcopolier says:

    I think the target area is in rebel hands. pl

  43. JohnH,
    According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Syrian government said on Thursday that it was ready to engage in ‘maximum’ cooperation with UN experts. And the same RT report quotes a spokesman for the opposition saying that they will ‘ensure the safety of the U.N. team’, and that it is ‘critical’ that the inspectors get there within forty-eight hours.
    (See )
    It is not clear to me how far these reports invalidate the scepticism about the prospects for an impartial investigation expressed by Dmitri Trenin, who heads the Carnegie Moscow Center, and how far this is a smoke-and mirrors game. It appears obvious, Trenin notes, that the UN mission’s mandate needs to be expanded to include the recent incident. However:
    ‘The problem is that the area in question is controlled by the rebels, and the government, while vehemently denying the charge, does not appear eager to expand the UN mission’s mandate. If Assad’s forces used poisonous gas, the reason is obvious. If they did not, Damascus fears walking into a trap. Also, a serious investigation would require establishing a local cease-fire for the duration of the UN mission. At the moment, this does not look very likely either.
    ‘The stakes for all sides and their backers are incredibly high, and mutual trust is low or non-existent. The Syrian antagonists are engaged in a fight to the death. The outside powers, whether in the region or globally, have long made their choices. The West and most of the Arabs want to see Assad gone, and the Syria-Iran alliance broken. Russia no longer even pretends to be neutral, clearly saying that a victory of the opposition would be a triumph of extremists and terrorists. It is probable in this context that countries with substantial intelligence resources in the region, certainly Russia and the United States, would rather rely on their own information than accept an international inquiry report whose findings might point in the wrong direction.’
    (See )

  44. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    IMO the US and Russia have a very good idea what happened. That said, I wonder what the BHO Administration is up to. The WH is leaking to their friends in the media that they believe the Syrian government is guilty. I wonder if we are about to see a re-play of the Gulf of Tonkin ploy. pl

  45. Colonel Lang,
    If I was to succumb to an uncharacteristic attack of optimism, I might wonder whether there was not some calculated move to facilitate the extension of the remit of the U.N. team as a step towards getting some kind of control of Syrian chemical weapons.
    An alternative possibility is that the quite unanticipated spectacle of the Syrian government (backed by Iran, Syria and China) winning game, set and match is causing panic, so that people in Washington – and also in London and Paris – are liable to do seriously stupid things to stop it. If the As-Safir report of the conversations between Bandar and Putin is accurate, it would seem to give some ground for making pessimistic assumptions.
    I wonder what General Dempsey thinks about all this. For some of us, his clear intellectual grasp – and blunt down-to-earthness – has seemed to provide reasons for qualified optimism that Obama might not do anything too stupid, with regard to Syria as with regard to Iran. But it may be too much to expect Obama to listen to good advice.

  46. BHO knows his legacy except as first “black” President largely destroyed or will be destroyed before the 2014 elections [Republican takeover of the US Senate now called even chance by Nate Silver of 538]!
    Iraq a dud effort! Afghanistan a dud effort! Arab Spring a dud effort! Reform of financial sector a dud! Health care perhaps a dud!
    So IMO prepare for a WAG THE DOG effort in Syria!

  47. Bill H says:

    I think/fear you may be on to the crux of the matter. Obama is sitting between the military who wants nothing to do with this mess, and the war mongers in skirts who are whispering in his ears that “thousands are dying and WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING,” and is going to fall off of that fence eventually. He does not have what it takes to get off of it on his own, so will fall off in which ever direction he is most vigorously pulled.

  48. turcopolier says:

    I wish I knew what Flynn, the director of DIA is telling Dempsey about this. pl

  49. Charles I says:

    Its all about I&I – ignorance and Iran, tho back in law school I&I meant intoxication & intercourse.
    Either way its Screw Iran every which way to Sunday.

  50. Charles I says:

    No matter what I predict some cruise missile campaigns, after which a no-fly will be mooted as a critical followup but no boots on the ground – promise!

  51. JohnH says:

    I’m hoping that all this war talk is just the US trying to improve its negotiating position at the upcoming Geneva 2 talks. After all, it doesn’t have a lot of cards left on the ground.
    Big power negotiations used to be likened to elephants mating–a lot of trumpeting and bellowing before they get down to business…

  52. toto says:

    I probably missed a couple episodes, but… If the rebels had put their hands on a significant amount of usable chemical weapons (enough to cause the alleged massacre), wouldn’t we know about it?

  53. elkern says:

    A Wag-the-Dog show without a feel-good ending (“little girl saved from rapacious Dictator!”) would be a flop, and no such happy endings are possible in Syria (“little girl has hand chopped off for playing with Barbie doll” is more likely).
    Some possible results (Syria destroyed, like Iraq) would benefit Israel, at least in the short-term, but it wouldn’t look so good on TV (worse than Egypt, probably worse than Iraq).
    My point is that a Wag-the-Dog political strategy won’t be sellable, even to the Obama administration.
    I think Israel’s freinds here will be satisfied with continued instability, while pushing for “more”, whatever that means. The US has no real stake in Syria. True “R2P” would be directed to Africa, where we probably could improve the lives of millions of people (temporarily, at least) as a reasonable cost. Using R2P as an excuse for US intervention in Syria is just a political tactic of the Israel Lobby.
    Hmm, I had thought it was all about Hezbollah, but ridding Syria of Chem weapons would be a big deal for Israel. Syrian chemical weapons matter most as a deterrent to Israel; eliminating them would make it possible for Israel to use a “Schlieffen” plan end-run into Hezbollah’s back yard (with Syria as Belgium).
    By this logic, I’d expect the US to [be pushed to] push for Syria to give up it’s chemical weapons capability “to UN inspectors”.

  54. Carl O. says:

    6:40 AM would be the upload time, not the time they were shot. If the attack occurred at 3:30 AM, would the area still likely be too contaminated for people to come in, collect and line up the bodies, video tape them and then upload the videos to youtube?

  55. Babak Makkinejad says:

    And to your point; when elephants mate, grass suffers; and when elephants fight, grass suffers again.

  56. After submitting this comment I note that Walter Russell Meade has a WSJ editorial supporting this comment in today’s WSJ!
    The MENA Grand Strategy of BHO has failed for reasons Meade details.
    Wondering who the highest ranking appointee {PAS-Presidentially appointed Senate Confirmed] who has any Arabic skills? Guessing none even Ambassadors who are non-career!

  57. Thomas says:

    Thank you for the link.
    “During the Geneva I Conference, we agreed with the Americans on a package of understandings, and they agreed that the Syrian regime will be part of any settlement. Later on, they decided to renege on Geneva I.”
    It would be interesting to know which advisors brought about the change in policy.
    “The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, and they will not move in the Syrian territory’s direction without coordinating with us. These groups do not scare us. We use them in the face of the Syrian regime but they will have no role or influence in Syria’s political future.”
    This is the equivalent of Fredo telling the Senator that Hyman Roth doesn’t do sex shows while his brother looks on. And it would be worth knowing how the Desert Prince plans to deal with “These Groups” once they were no longer needed.

  58. turcopolier says:

    You can make a variety of lethal chemicals in simple buildings if you are willing to cut a lot of corners and take chances. No. we would not necessarily know if they were making CW agents. The pre-cursors for many are readily available on agricultural supply markets. pl

  59. robt willmann says:

    Bill H,
    You noted above, “Libya?”, regarding a possible U.S. military attack on Syria without a declaration of war.
    Yes, and as to Syria, the most likely template is the war against Serbia (1998-1999), when Bill and Hillary Clinton were in the White House. They just did it, without a declaration of war by Congress and without a United Nations resolution. The “coalition” was NATO.
    Russia and China got educated about the U.S. stretching language in UN resolutions in the matter of Libya. So there will be no UN resolutions authorizing military action in Syria that will get past vetoes by Russia and China. If the not-so-covert CIA actions do not do the trick in Syria, Obama may just order a cruise missile or other attack, anticipating that Chuck Hagel, Gen. Dempsey, and the other officers in the chain of command will obey the illegal order and do the strike. In that event, the compromised and cowardly Congress will likely do nothing.
    Also, this past Monday, 19 August, president Obama had a closed-door meeting with the heads of the Federal Reserve Bank, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the National Credit Union Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Comptroller of the Currency.
    This curious meeting, a rarity with the chiefs of all the financial agencies plus the Not-Federal Reserve Bank, means that either there is significant deterioration of the financial “system” and the economy, or he wanted to advise them of possible military escalation in Syria and the Middle East, and ask them about the economic impact of such military action, or both. If Obama asked them if military action against Syria would trash the economy, they certainly answered “no”, because two days later came the so-called “gas attack”, to further lay the groundwork for military escalation.

  60. bth says:

    There would seem to be a couple of matters of fact.
    1. Russia claims that they tracked 2 missiles fired from rebel controlled areas that accounted for the injuries. This would seem like a verifiable fact by both the US and Russia.
    2. The Youtube post is in fact dated 8/20 and not 8/21. Perhaps it was posted from the US as said after the event, but this also seems like a matter of fact worth journalistic scrutiny.
    Certainly it would not be too much to ask congressmen or senators to look into these ‘facts’ before we launch the cruise missiles?
    I would say I’d depend on Dempsey to tell the truth if no one else, but then I thought that about Powell a decade ago.
    BTW the WaPo editorial staff opinion piece all but calls Obama less than a man if he doesn’t establish a no fly zone and step up rebel support. Is it usual for a WaPo editorial not to have a specific name on it?

  61. turcopolier says:

    robert willman
    “Gen. Dempsey, and the other officers in the chain of command will obey the illegal order and do the strike.” US military offcers are not officials of the UN. They have no obligations under the UN Charter. pl

  62. RH says:

    “Well, well … Tell me how this is different from the machinations of the Bush “Iraq Group?” Tell me. ”
    Hadn’t occurred to me till you wrote that, but does anyone know where the bunch from the Bush Iraq Group were at the time? McCain’s been bumbling around that part of the world recently.

  63. Fred says:

    Elephants also leave behind a great deal of useful fertilizer. Sadly we are getting the other kind.

  64. Stephanie says:

    Of course. It doesn’t compare to the words and actions of the second Bush Administration in the runup to the Iraq war.

  65. Al Arabist says:

    So discouraging. it’s a long term investment that needs grit and intuition.Where’s the app for that.

  66. turcopolier says:

    Like hell it doesn’t. pl

  67. mbrenner says:

    Several commentators in the media have made a comparison between Syria and Kosovo, suggesting the latter as a model for taking military action in Syria. The ones I have read fail to mention that there were a series of UNSC resolutions condemning Serb actions and called for them to cease and desist. They were extrapolated to provide a thin cover of legal justification for the airstrikes – although there was no resolution specifically calling for a use of force.
    These nuances are overlooked by our ever vigilant, internet assisted journalists and their editors. As for historical memory, Kosovo might as well have been in neolithic times.

  68. JohnH says:

    A nice little war would take people’s minds off the NSA…

  69. Alba Etie says:

    Yes I would agree – oftentimes in life course corrections are preceded by stupid & difficult to comprehend decisions . That is way the course is being corrected.

  70. jonst says:

    My guess is the WH thinks that the best way cut the Gordian knot is to decapitate Assad. One shot or two or three. And anybody with him. Then a quick pivot to back to the residual organized forces of the Syrian Govt. Tell them all is forgiven and give them promises of money and aid. Lots of it. Then go after bad guy rebels. Throw out Iran…
    Sorta like the ‘purge’ in Iraq…after Saddam was dispensed with him…deals could be cut with the Sunni Clans. Then, like in Iraq, take the Sunni’s and go after whomever.
    I think this is what they are thinking. Just a guess

  71. I think yesterday’s DEBKAfile report is likely to include a great deal of disinformation, but it may also perhaps contain pointers to what is going on.
    The report claims that shells containing sarin from the depository at the Mount Kalmun base south of Damascus were fired by the 155th Brigade of the Syrian Army’s 4th Division, headed by Assad’s younger brother General Maher Assad. Supposedly this is one of three sites at which Syrian chemical weapons are concentrated, and no munitions are released from them without an explicit directive by Assad or his brother. It is asserted that all the relevant parties know this is what happened.
    It is asserted that the attack is part of a three-pronged retaliation for foreign intervention in the civil war – and DEBKAfile repeat the claim, featured in Le Figaro, about U.S- trained Syrian rebels entering the country from Jordan, of which DEBKAfile says it was the original source. The other supposed prongs are rockets fired by Hezbollah into Israel, and car bomb attacks on Sunni mosques in Tripoli.
    (See—by-Syrian-4th-Division%E2%80%99s-155th-Brigade—were-followed-by-rockets-on-Israel-and-car-bombings-in-Lebanon- )
    Many things are possible, and the claims could even be true. Among alternative possibilities is that they could indicate that we are dealing with a ‘false flag’ operation which is not simply organised by rebels on the ground, but is part of a coordinated strategy to look for a decisive confrontation with Syria and Hezbollah.
    The – uncharacteristic – Russian decision to go public with the ‘diplomatic report’ giving details of Bandar’s unsuccessful attempt to bribe/blackmail Putin into abandoning Assad may be relevant here. The opening of the account in As-Safir – which is apparently linked to Hezollah – may be worth pondering:
    ‘A diplomatic report about the “stormy meeting” in July between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan concluded that the region stretching from North Africa to Chechnya and from Iran to Syria – in other words, the entire Middle East – has come under the influence of an open US-Russian face-off and that “it is not unlikely that things [will] take a dramatic turn in Lebanon, in both the political and security senses, in light of the major Saudi decision to respond to Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian crisis.”’
    (See )

  72. turcopolier says:

    The reason the air effort in Kossovo worked was that the Serbs knew the US was preparing to invade the country on the ground. pl

  73. Fred says:

    Perhaps, but wouldn’t supporting democracy closer to home – i.e. Mexico, which is falling apart, be a much ‘better’ war of choice?

  74. turcopolier says:

    Davud Habakkuk
    IMO a casus belli is being fabricated as the basis for what the civilians think will be an easy win against Assad. pl

  75. Colonel Lang,
    “what the civilians think will be an easy win against Assad.”
    Do you think there could be something in jonst’s speculation that people think they have learned the lessons of Iraq, and are liable to gamble that ‘decapitation’ could be made to work?
    Also – am I being exaggeratedly alarmist in wondering whether the participation of Hezbollah in the Syrian civil war has made Saudis, Israelis, and the hard-core Zionists in the United States think they have been given an opportunity to strike decisively at that organisation?
    As an ignoramus about the Middle East, I cannot judge. But I have been beginning to have a very seriously bad feeling about how all this might develop.
    I also wonder whether there may not be a bizarre alliance of people who are foolishly insouciant about the escalatory possibilities implicit in this situation, and people who are quite aware of them and hoping to exploit them.
    It had seemed that the threat of the U.S. being manipulated in a way which would inveigle it in a war against Iran had been averted, at least for now — not least because of General Dempsey.
    But I do find myself wondering whether some of the ‘usual suspects’ may have been looking for a different way to achieve the same objective – and whether they might even have found it.

  76. The Twisted Genius says:

    You are giving the WH far more credit than it deserves. I am convinced that it’s strategic thinking does not go beyond “anybody but Assad.” Throw in some foolish notions of face saving, message sending and maintaining our influence in the region and you have the full sum of our Middle East policy.

  77. turcopolier says:

    David Habakkuk
    As I said the civilians foolishly think a decapitation will be easy and will collpase the government. They stupidly believe that the Syrian government side is a one man show just as they did in Iraq. as someone wrote here the US Navy needs justification for their budget. they probably are not pulling their weight in stopping this craziness. CJCS continues to insist to the president/CinC that a cruise missile strike is an act of war and something that will inevitably lead to escalation. pl

  78. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The UK Government can go on record, even this at this late date, and oppose any US attacks on Syria; so could French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Swedish governments.
    They will not; you cannot wash them of their own responsibility in this nor could you lay it all at the feet of US – US is not alone in this.

  79. jonst says:

    I don’t think anything you wrote rules out what I suggest….
    No, I like my guess.

  80. jonst says:

    Oh, I think the Col is dead on here….what I suggested in my last is may to happen trying to take out Assad. But will not work, in the long run, any more than it worked in Iraq. Or in Afghan/Pack. Because it is precisely not ” a one man show”….but the political 30something years old, and the gaggle of witches, running security policy think differently. My guess they/we may end up facing Nasrallah…who has as much on the line now, if not more, than Assad. I doubt he can tolerate a hostile Syria now in the guise of a reconstituted Syrian Sunni leading govt.

  81. Cosmoskitten says:

    Would chlorine gas be enough to cause the symptoms described by the media, in the alleged gas attack?

  82. elkern says:

    or he’s telling them who he’ll nominate as the next Fed Chair?

  83. Babak Makkinejad,
    I thought by now it should be clear that the last thing I would want to do was to ‘lay it all at the feet of US’. You don’t serious think I am not aware that our imbecilic leadership are if anything even more gung-ho about Syria and Iran than their American counterparts?
    It is however interesting to look at the comments on the report published in the ‘Telegraph’ yesterday under the title ‘David Cameron to give Syria ultimatum’.
    The best rated comment – 206 recommendations – is by ‘Anglosaxonmike’. It reads: ‘Keep out of it you moron, we are broke, and it’s none of our business, and it’s not worth one British soldiers life.’
    Slightly down the list – with 122 recommendations – is a comment which reads as follows: ‘I’m an American, and I HATE my government. I hope you Brits feel similarly, since our respective governing demons tend to walk into the fray holding hands…’
    In Britain, we have a governing class much of which is too stupid, and confined in their own cocoon world, to grasp that they are playing with fire, not simply in the Middle East but in their own country.
    (See )

  84. Cosmoskitten,
    Quite possibly not. Until we have some kind of serious analysis of the available evidence, rather than Western governments claiming that it definitively incriminates the Syrian leadership, without producing an iota of concrete evidence, we are not likely to be in a position to form a judgement.
    However, given the strong circumstantial evidence that a variety of actors — including both the Israelis and the Saudis — are itching for a pretext to inveigle the U.S. into attacking Assad, a possibility exists of a much more sophisticated ‘false flag’ operation.

  85. Fred says:

    So these betrayals of the Constitution are not anything like those other betrayals, making these ones perfectly acceptable? I think not.

  86. jonst,
    I like your guess.
    What puts the fear of God into me even more, moreover, is the fact that the Israelis have every reason to fear the steady accumulation of missiles of ever-increasing accuracy and range in the hands of Hezbollah. This is not because they cannot ‘deter’ Nasrallah: it is because the ultimate preposterousness of the Zionist notion of Israel as a ‘safe haven’ for Jews is being clearly exposed. And it does not help that the available evidence suggests that Netanyahu is not simply pretending to be a fruitcake — more probably he is the genuine article.
    The intervention of Hezbollah in the Syrian civil war thus may provide a further basis for the renewal of an old covert Israeli-Saudi alliance. However, given both how much Nasrallah has ‘on the line’, and the nature of him and his movement, the escalatory possibilities get frightening.
    As to ‘gaggle of witches’ …

  87. Babak Makkinejad says:

    My impression, reading the comments on some popular sites in US, has been that Americans also by a wide margin oppose US intervention in Syria.
    In US the excuse is the AIPAC, or Neo-Cons or other such “Usual Suspects”.
    What is it in UK, or France, or Italy, or Germany?
    I think it is clear that when it comes to harming Iran, no action is considered extremist in Europe as well as in the United States.
    Of course it is madness but that does not make it stupid.

  88. turcopolier says:

    No. It IS stupid bacause such a campaign can only end in another unwinnable war. pl

  89. Babak Makkinejad says:

    It is not persons, it is ethno-religious minorities that are fighting for their continued physical existence. During the Civil War in Lebanon, men disappeared off the streets of Beirut at the check-points of various militia, never to be seen again – or herd of.
    Before Nasr-Allah (“God’s Victory”) was Sheikh Mousawi who was assassinated – together with his wife and daughter – by Israelis. It did not affect Hezbollah’s war against Israel’s occupation of South Lebanon.
    I expect nothing less.

  90. Babak Makkinejad,
    It is stupid.
    As regards the anti-Iranian agenda. The point in the U.K. is not that there is any widespread positive sympathy for Iran. It is that in the minds of most people, Iran is now quite secondary.
    What has sunk in is that the ‘sharp end’ of the Syrian insurgency is jihadist. Look at comments on stories on the Telegraph, Independent, Mail and Guardian: almost irrespective of general ideological affiliation, it is difficult to find people who are happy with the government’s support for the anti-government forces in Syria.
    A difference from the U.S. is that, as far as the general population is concerned, the Israelis have, in essence, lost us. When they attempt to play on the ‘Holocaust guilt’ card, it cuts no ice at all. Increasingly, the response is ‘get my kids out of the orphanage’.
    And, ironically, this is likely to be more true, rather than less, with those sections of British opinion which have historically been most philo-semitic. It is necessary to remember that a very great deal of British philo-semitism was essentially Dreyfusard in spirit.
    A great Dreyfusard hero was reserve captain Marc Bloch. Among the greatest of modern historians, Bloch was a First World War army officer, and was tortured and shot by the Germans as a result of his work in the Resistance in the Second World War. He died as he had lived, a great French patriot. What have people like him to do with rubbish like Netanyahu?
    (See )

  91. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think then we are in agreement that EU leaders have cast their lot with the “30-something..” on the Syrian project.
    They cannot hide behind AIPAC, Neo-Cons, etc.

  92. bth says:

    Could this posturing be at attempt by Syrian rebels or their sponsors to get the Syrian government and the Russians to the negotiating table? Is the threat of US action worth more than the reality of it?

  93. Babak Makkinejad,
    Largely yes, but with the highly significant exception of the Germans. From a ‘Telegraph’ report this morning:
    ‘The US will not only encounter Russian and Chinese opposition. Germany is also resolutely opposed to the use of force in Syria. It regards the Libyan intervention as a failure and fears that the spillover would further destabilise the region.
    ‘”I do not see an outside military intervention in this terrible civil war in Syria,” said Thomas de Maiziere, German defence minister. “It can only be a political solution. The West should not think they can solve problems by military means in the Middle East.”‘
    (See )

  94. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Would Germany sanction US, France, or UK?
    I think not.
    Her opposition is therefore devoid of consequence.

  95. Charles I says:

    This is part of the point, he’s next, and one country closer to Iran to boot, though the fantasy of knocking out all the missiles the Israelis are apparently so fearful of would make it a heavy go at southern Lebanon as chaos spreads east a tactical and strategic no brainer.

  96. Stephanie says:

    Plainly I gave the Administration too much credit. I saw Obama on the PBS NewsHour explaining that if we don’t bomb Syria their chemical weapons will be used on us. We’re in mushroom cloud territory now, all right.

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