15 June 2013 — Moon of Alabama
The New York Times and others try to paint a picture of a president Obama who only reluctantly took the decision to escalate the war on Syria by no longer just helping to arm the Syrian insurgency but to deliver its own weapons and to thereby commit the U.S. into a prolonged war.
Mr. Obama came around to the idea of arming the rebels, at least modestly, only months after rejecting it. In part, that was because of confirmation by intelligence agencies that Mr. Assad’s forces had used sarin gas against his people.
That picture is incorrect. As the Washington Post reports:
U.S. officials said that the determination to send weapons had been made weeks ago and that the chemical weapons finding provided fresh justification to act.
The insurgency is already well armed with tanks, artillery and modern anti-air weapons. Throughout the last months many new wire guided anti-tank missilesreached the northern front. The decision to arem them with more and better weapons was taken month ago and had nothing to do with chemical weapons. That chemical weapons fake did not convince Russia and not even the usually compliant United Nations:
[U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon] cautioned that “any information on the alleged use of chemical weapons cannot be ensured without convincing evidence of the chain of custody.”
U.S. officials admit that they have not established the chain of custody for the medical tests that were done to “prove” chemical weapons use. Experts alsodoubt that Sarin, as the U.S. alleges, has been used:
[Jean Pascal Zanders, a leading expert on chemical weapons who until recently was a senior research fellow at the European Union’s Institute for Security Studies] said that much about that [the Le Monde] report bears questioning. Photos and a video accompanying the report showed rebel fighters preparing for chemical attacks by wearing gas masks. Sarin is absorbed through the skin, and even small amounts can kill within minutes.
Le Monde reported that one doctor treated a victim with atropine, which is appropriate for sarin poisoning. But that doctor said he gave his patient 15 shots of atropine in quick succession, which Zanders said could have killed him almost as surely as sarin.
All this “chemical weapon” stuff is obviously just an excuse to announce a decision that has been taken months ago and is already long into its implementation. The decision was likely taken simply because the insurgents were losing and Obama had committed himself for them to win. The recent new weapon deliveries certainly did not happen without active U.S. support:
The CIA is preparing to deliver arms to rebel groups in Syria through clandestine bases in Turkey and Jordan that were expanded over the past year in an effort to establish reliable supply routes into the country for nonlethal material, U.S. officials said.
The infrastructure was there and has been used for quite some time to push weapons, ammunition and other stuff to the insurgents.
Together with the Obama announcement to extend and prolong the war came thecall by three important Sunni clerics for all young Muslims to go to fight in Syria. The Jihad call was made at a Muslim Brotherhood sponsored event in Egypt. All those weapons the U.S. delivers need hands to use them. The Syrian insurgency has had big losses of personal and now foreign fanatics are send in to replace them. This is part of Obama’s plan.
Besides those now announced but long delivered fresh weapons the U.S. is already implementing the next stage of the war:
A Jordanian government official dismissed as “premature” reports that there are plans for Jordan to serve as the base for a future Syrian no-fly zone. The kingdom currently has no plans to “be part of any international military action against Syria,” he said.
However, a Jordanian military official said that Amman and Washington drew up plans for such a zone in March and that the dispatch of the missiles and fighter jets represented a “first phase.”
“We already know what a no-fly zone over southern Syria will look like, how to enforce it and who we will work with on the ground,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “All we are waiting for is the final decision.”
Yesterday’s Walls Street Journal had a quite extensive description of these plans:
U.S. military planners, responding to a request by the White House to develop options for Syria, recommended the limited no-fly zone along the Syrian border to protect rebels and refugees inside Jordan.
The plan would create what one official called a “no fighting zone” that would stretch up to 25 miles into Syrian territory along the Jordanian border, preventing Mr. Assad’s forces from launching attacks against the rebels and refugees and protecting U.S. personnel involved in distributing weapons and providing training.
Under this plan, the U.S. and its allies would enforce the zone using aircraft flown from Jordanian bases and flying inside the kingdom, according to U.S. officials.
The U.S. has already moved Patriot air defense batteries and F-16 fighter planes to Jordan, which could be integral to any no-fly zone if Mr. Obama approves the military proposal.
Proponents of the proposal think a no-fly zone could be imposed without a U.N. Security Council resolution, since the U.S. would not regularly enter Syrian airspace and wouldn’t hold Syrian territory.
U.S. planes have air-to-air missiles that could destroy Syrian planes from long ranges. But officials said that aircraft may be required to enter Syrian air space if threatened by advancing Syrian planes. Such an incursion by the U.S., if it were to happen, could be justified as self-defense, officials say.
How please does one defend a “no fighting zone” from long range missile artillery? That is not possible. All this sounds like a preparation for a large ground campaign in south Syria. The U.S. would use the Syrian defectors who it has trained in Jordan to lead the ground attack to conquer the “no fighting zone” protected by U.S. air power. What Obama is planing here and has likely already decided on is consciously designed to creep into a full out U.S. war on Syria.
Russia and other will want to have a word on that. Russian foreign minister Lavrov immediately pointed out that any such no-fly zone would violate international law. I do expect that Russia will use more than just words on this issue.
Applauding Obama’s decision to wage an extended war on Syria is war-criminal Tony Blair:
Blair suggested that regime change in Syria was inevitable. “People are no longer going to accept that a minority ruled the country without the say of the majority.It’s exactly the arguments we went through over Iraq,” [Blair] said.
Indeed. Fake allegations of chemical weapons, breaking international law followed by ten years of torture and other war crimes. Exactly like Iraq. If Obama gets his way on this.