The entirety of international corporate media seems to have completely forgotten – or deliberately omitted – the fact that the Syrian government had officially completed the removal of its last remaining chemical weapons stockpile as of June 23rd 2014.
This was apparently confirmed by the United Nations Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, as well as reported by most media outlets at the time (but, strangely, not referred to anymore by the same outlets insisting Assad carried out this latest attack).
In fact, the MSM and government reality-bypassers keep referring to the 2013 Ghoutta attack as “the last time Assad gassed civilians” – when, in fact, that 2013 attack was investigated by the UN and the conclusion was that the rebels had carried out the attack, making Obama’s original ‘Red Line’ position meaningless.
On the other hand, we know that rebel/jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq have access to chemical weapons. For one thing, because they’ve used them. For another, because we know they were given sarin stolen from Libya after the fall of Gaddafi (approved by Hillary – as confirmed by no less a source than Seymour Hersh) and because Turkish and US sources supplied them with the toxins.
No investigation of the latest alleged chemical attack has been allowed to occur yet, but the case is apparently closed and the matter done and dusted.
Donald Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has told the media on Thursday that Bashar Assad’s government was responsible for the chemical attack in Idlib. This was just days after the President and Secretary of State had both said Assad’s position was safe and there were no plans anymore for regime change.
Both Trump and Tillerson must know that the Idlib attack was a false-flag, that the ‘evidence’ implicating Assad is highly questionable, that the previous sarin controversy and ‘red line’ had been rebel-staged attacks designed to give Hillary Clinton’s State Department the premise for regime-change, etc. The same Trump who, weeks ago was declaring CNN “fake news”, would not have been naive about any of this – particularly as he spent half his election campaign demonising Hillary Clinton and President Obama for colluding with and arming dubious rebel groups in Syria.
Both Trump and Tillerson surely also understand that Assad had no motive for carrying out the Idlib chemical attack and that, in fact, from Damascus’s perspective, such an attack would’ve been massively illogical and self-defeating.
We might’ve at first considered that both Tillerson and Trump are playing some kind of clever game, whereby they can be seen to be punishing Assad for the alleged attack and – more importantly – be seen to be falling out with Russia (and are, therefore, not quite the Russian stooges that half of America thinks they are); whereas, in reality, Trump doesn’t intend any further move against the Assad government and always intended this to be just a one-off, token attack for the sake of buying some approval from the MSM, strengthening his domestic standing and also placating Deep State and Neo-Con elements breathing down his neck.
We might also have thought that the Alpha-Male egotist Trump was simply trying to flex military power as a display to the Chinese President and to North Korea; or even that he attacked the airbase to get one over on Barack Obama by enforcing the ‘red line’ that Obama didn’t.
However, the completely over-the-top way in which Nikki Haley has been behaving in the UN Security Council, combined with President Trump’s overwrought, exaggerated statements on Wednesday and Thursday (with talk about crimes against humanity and the “many, many lines” that had been crossed) unfortunately suggest that this complete turnaround isn’t just about a one-off ‘warning shot’ against Damascus for domestic approval ratings.
We should add to this the fact that Tillerson specifically said that Assad has “no role” in Syria’s future and that plans were already being discussed for a program to remove Assad from power.
I’ve seen practically no one on any major media channel or platform questioning whether the claim against Assad’s government is true or not, despite the dubiousness of the evidence and the obvious lack of logic in the narrative.
Sky News, to its credit, did air an interview with former British Ambassador to Syria, Peter Ford, who stated outright that Assad didn’t carry out the attack and that the rebels in Idlib did it.
What is more interesting – and it’s a fact that has been missed or omitted by most media (both mainstream and ‘alternative’) – is that Syrian state positions also came under attack by another country recently: specifically, by Israel.
In fact, Israeli warplanes were reported to have attacked Syrian targets as recently as March 17th. As it now stands, Israel and the US are now the only countries to have directly attacked Syrian state forces. Israel has in fact done so several times since the start of the Civil War in Syria; but it is interesting that a new US administration closely tied to the Netanyahu-led government has followed in Israel’s footsteps, particularly a new US President who is on record as having said he would basically be “dependent on whatever Israel wants”.
We’ve been here before, of course – none of this is new. On March 19th 2013 (yes, March 19th – the same date that saw the 2003 Iraq War begin and the same date that saw the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya begin – something to do with Mars, the God of War), sarin gas was used near Aleppo.
Without waiting for any proof or investigation, Israel and the US immediately blamed the Syrian government for the attacks even though many of those killed were actually Syrian government soldiers. Hillary Clinton, President Obama, David Cameron and numerous others began talking about the event as a “red line” that had been crossed and the warmongers in both government and media began their by-now familiar propaganda march towards war.
From that point on, Assad’s government, like those of Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein before him, appeared to have its days numbered, with US/NATO-led military intervention imminent.
However the UN – in a rare display of independence, perhaps influenced by the disaster that had recently unfolded in Libya – insisted on investigating the issue for itself, and on May 6th 2013 the UN investigator Carla Del Ponte went public stating that evidence from their investigation indicated that it was Syrian rebels that had used the sarin gas and that there was no indication that the Syrian government had launched any chemical attacks whatsoever.
Del Ponte, who like everyone else had been previously misled by government officials in the West, was surprised by her own findings; “I was a little bit stupefied at first”. This was reported even by the BBC on May 6th 2013. It was stated definitively by investigators: ‘This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.’
Then there was the subsequent attack on August 21st 2013, when foreign governments and the corporate media attempted once again to frame the Syrian government for the use of sarin gas… and once again these claims were exposed as fraudulent. Concerning the chemical attack of August 2013 in the Eastern Ghouta region (just outside Damascus), one thing that was scarcely mentioned in mainstream coverage was that the Syrian Government had been complaining for months about terrorist gas-attacks and had even invited UN inspectors to Damascus to investigate (echoing, to some extent, Gaddafi practically begging UN investigators to come to Libya to see what was really going on – and which the UN in that instance had not bothered to do).
When these inspectors arrived, ‘rebel’ groups posted videos of dead children to the Internet, blaming the Syrian Government for a new massacre. The US government – again without any attempt to verify the ‘evidence’ or investigate independently – was quick to agree. Due to US/Western pressure and interference, the UN investigation of the chemical attacks was cancelled and all attention moved onto the horrendous matter of the newly gassed children.
The western media went into overdrive, up in arms over this ‘outrage’ by the Assad regime, and renewed the demands for military intervention to force regime change in Syria. A major escalation of the war at this point was only defused by Russian diplomatic intervention and a proposal that Syria hand over its chemical weapons stockpile; which the Syrian regime maintained had never been used.
Meanwhile, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh reported that “The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons.” One source told Hersh, “Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.”
In a lengthy article published by the London Review of Books, the investigative journalist reported that the sarin gas attack on a Damascus suburb on August 21st 2013 was carried out by Syrian “rebel” forces carrying out the wishes of Turkish intelligence – all for the purpose of providing a pretext for a US-led ‘intervention’ to carry out regime-change in Syria.
Hersh also concluded that Hillary Clinton personally approved the sending of sarin from the chaos of the then freshly-fallen Libya and into the hands of Syrian rebels.
The situation, as it now stands, is this: following the US strike on the Syrian airbase, whoever it is that carried out the chemical attack knows that President Trump has committed to punishing the Syrian government for any chemical attack – this means all they have to do is keep staging chemical attacks and, via the White Helmets, having CNN and various media outlets run with the ‘Assad, the Butcher’ narrative, the US will be forced to act against Damascus.
Whatever the real reason was that Trump took the bait, he has now set the precedent by which he can be forced into sanctioning military action against the Syrian state. He simply loses all credibility now if he *doesn’t* attack Syria the next time a chemical incident occurs.
But given how successful this latest operation has been – on the part of both the rebels in Idlib and their Western friends like Nikki Haley – it is now highly likely it will be done again. That may be what all involved parties are hoping for.