Friday, April 13, 2018

Gas Was Certainly Used in Syria—But By Whom?




Here we are again, with a charge chillingly close to the false claims against Saddam Hussein that destroyed Iraq and inflamed the Middle East. Bashar Assad has been accused of the recent gas attacks on civilians and the West is thirsting for ‘action.’

Britain, France and the United States are aligned to ‘punish’ Vladimir Putin, with little solid evidence other than ‘gas was used.’

Wonderful. The world has been presented with yet another opportunity to escalate its response and we all know how that has worked out in the past. Politicians are still running for cover from the Iraq story, but the damage has been done and a nation permanently destroyed.

So, here we go again, with ‘saving face’ taking priority over saving Syria. What is at stake goes far beyond the stakeholders. Russia is not good at backing down under such circumstances, as the case in Ukraine so elegantly proved.

Any one of the disparate groups fighting Assad, finding themselves on the losing side as Russia becomes involved, might well have been responsible for the attack. Certainly it does not work for Assad at the very moment he seems able to remain in ultimate control of Syria. It simply makes no sense.

Beyond that, take a look at those who are making the most noise in the West (none of whom have boots on the ground in Syria). Teresa May is hanging on to her job by a thread, Emmanuel Macron is under great pressure in France and Donald Trump needs something (almost anything) to show his strongman decision-making in America. The three of them have too many ‘other reasons’ to divert the conversation.

Essentially, they are not credible and their collective lack of credibility, history will tell us, works out very badly in the run-up to wars that should never have been fought.

Yet we don’t seem to learn from that history. The stakes are way too large for another lesson in history repeating itself.