Like a real life game of ‘Cluedo’, we know the weapon, the victims, the place and the time. Only the identity of the perpetrator remains a mystery. The primary suspects are the Syrian regime or the rebels; both sides have the capability to deliver these nasty weapons, as for motive, there is a degree of uncertainty. The Syrian regime is winning the war on the ground, and the use of such weapons would only unify the rest of the world against them, thus, such an action looks irrational and counter-productive. Especially in light of the fact that Obama already stated the use of chemical weapons was a line that could not be crossed. Moreover, the immediate and equivocal Syrian response, requesting an UN inspection team to verify the matter seems to point to their innocence.
Could the rebels have done this? One cannot imagine they would use chemical weapons on their own people, to perpetuate an uncertain military response, with an uncertain outcome, unless it was done by a lunatic fringe extremist group among the rebels.
Let’s ask: cui bono (to whose benefit?). An attack on Syria would benefit its rival, Israel. For sure, they have the experience (e.g. Lavon affair) and the capability to engage in a covert operation, if needed in collusion with the CIA, to deliver these weapons and manufacture a crisis. Of course, there is a difference between logic and truth, it does not always follow that the party who stands to gain the most benefit is automatically guilty.
What about the US? Before anyone dismisses it as a conspiracy theory, just have a look at their track record. We can still smell the stench of blood from the Iraq invasion using the WMD pretext, which eventually became an issue of an illegal regime change and saving the Kurds. Earlier, in the Gulf War of 1991, false reports of Iraqi War crimes in Kuwait; the "babies thrown from incubators" stories propagated by the western based mass media were subsequently proven to be totally false. Prior to launching the Vietnam War, the US manufactured the “Gulf of Tonkin" incident, claiming Vietnam had attacked a U.S. ship. The Spanish-American War was justified with an alleged attack on the U.S.S. Maine, the newspaper hyped up the incident to increase its sales revenue, and helped the US to declare war, and the world was introduced to yellow journalism.
We can safely eliminate economic factors like oil as a motive behind the US-led calls for intervention; Syria is a relatively poor country, no rich resources there, very much like the Rwanda of the Arab world. The Syrian socialist regime has kept the country even poorer with a stagnant socialist based economy; it looks like an Eastern European nation that is trapped under communist rule in the 1950s and 60s.
One can also dismiss the US claims of intervention on humanitarian grounds. Because, the number of casualties prior to the chemical weapons attack has already reached 100,000, and their humanity did not move. In contrast, the number of victims from the chemical weapons attack is uncertain; it seems to be in three digits. Therefore, the vocal opposition to Chemical weapon is a convenient political pretext, but what kind of political pretext is the next question.
Can it be a sudden desire to introduce democracy? That looks unlikely as ever; we know from the Egyptian coup d’état, unless the outcome complies with US interests, it isn’t really interested. However, US credibility has been hit hard through its inaction. The Godfather of democracy watched the largest Arab country oust a democratically elected leader, then engage in a reign of terror with arbitrary arrests, intimidation, killing of 2000 innocent protestors and imprisonment of its leaders, like some Nazi regime resurrected from the past. Forget sanctions and military action, even token condemnation was absent from the US. It still remains a spectator as the Egyptian crisis looks to be heading towards civil war; hence, the Syrian episode is a good distraction.
Could this be preparation for an attack on Iran? After attacking and occupying Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon would be isolated and weakened, as Syria is the main supply route. Then Israel would further weaken Hezbollah by attacking it, making the way clear to launch strikes on Iran. There is a view that Zionists do control and shape US foreign policy, and certainly there is abundant evidence of that.
Maybe the US is really worried about an implosion in Syria leading to regional instability. This too remains uncertain, as the media has been busy trying to promote and convert a political war into a sectarian war and accelerate the conflict; accordingly, the media coverage given so far has been along the lines of a Shia based Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis, against the Sunni rebels supported by the Arab and the Gulf states. In reality, the rebels are not unified by Sunni orthodoxy, they are composed of secular, devout, Shia and Sunni fighters, and the socialist Syrian regime are not strict adherents of the Shia theology. Iran has traditionally allied to Syria due to the geopolitics of the region.
In the mean time, the UN inspection team is trying to establish the facts; concurrently the US and its allies have already adopted a war like stance, the drums of war are beating louder. Why not give the UN inspectors time, and why not get the Arab League to play a more constructive role in establishing the source of the chemical weapons attack. It seems none of the major parties are interested in the truth; in times of conflict everyone seeks to exploit the situation for their benefit, and the innocent civilians are always the first of casualties, the awful videos and images testify to that.
Yamin Zakaria (email@example.com)
Published on 30/08/2013