The most important nation in discourse over whether or not to attack Syria over the most recent use of chemical Weapons is the United States. The first item which would be expected to be clarified is to make all evidence made available validating the claims that it was actually the Syrian military that deployed the chemical weapons and that al-Assad gave the orders. Thus far President Obama and the spokespeople from within his administration have sounded in virtual unison forming a chorus of accusations blaming Syrian President Bashir al-Assad for giving the orders to use chemical weapons which murdered hundreds of civilians. Evidential proof has been lacking or at best thin with assurances that they have solid and unimpeachable evidence of al-Assad’s guilt in the matter of loosing weapons of mass destruction and the American people and the world are left to simply trust they are correct. What makes this somewhat puzzling is that those who are behind claiming that there has been use of WMDs on civilians in Syria are people who not so long ago had a completely different view on taking a President and his people’s guarantees on another country having possession and having used WMDs. The President was George W. Bush and the person presumably owning the WMDs in question was Saddam Hussein of Iraq. This was the same reasoning given for the invasion of Iraq by President Bush who also expected that his word would suffice. The Iraq War was the conflict of which John Kerry was for the war before he was against the war; Barack Obama and Chuck Hagel were simply against that war in Iraq; and Joe Biden supported the war in Iraq but changed his stance when he campaigned with President Obama claiming that he had made a serious mistake in supporting the Iraq War. Now we are supposed to simply take these same anti-war politicians when they last spoke of their positions regarding the Iraq War but are certain that there are WMDs in al-Assad’s arsenal and he has used them on his own people and we are told to simply trust them. The only thing missing is their blaming President George W. Bush for not attacking Iraq in time to prevent Saddam Hussein’s WMDs from being spirited out of Iraq and stored in Syria where they were the real reason that al-Assad was able to utilize these chemical weapons this past week; after all, isn’t just about everything George W. Bush’s fault?
Then there are the British who could be considered one of the instigators behind this entire emergency. This is the third time the British have claimed that al-Assad has deployed chemical weapons during the Syrian civil war and have been backed up in their intelligence reports by the French and the Israelis on at least two of these occasions. The British had already announced earlier this week that their resources in the Mediterranean theater were on standby and ready to assist the United States if they decide to move on the current intelligence of chemical weapons use in Syria. The British were also absolutely positive that Bashir al-Assad was the perpetrator of the release of chemical weapons on the Syrian people. Thus far the French have not announced their readiness to join any attack on Syrian targets which are used by the Syrian military presumably including the chemical weapons storage areas and other military targets which could be utilized in the deployment of chemical weapons in the future. In a straight forward description of targets one could just describe them as any military targets including airports, aircraft, artillery positions, and virtually any other military target. Initial reports claim that the United States already has a list of targets within Syria numbering one-hundred-fifty and includes everything mentioned above as well as command and control assets presumably as that is where the orders originate and if they are taken out new orders would be impossible to relay to the units. Then again, perhaps the Syrians might think to use the same technology the American troops which invaded Grenada resorted to using when they were faced with a small embarrassment, the different units from each branch of service were set to different frequencies and the Marines could not talk to the Army who could not talk to the Air Force who could not talk to the Navy, so resourceful Rangers made a collect phone call to an Air Force base in Florida to order up an airstrike. I am assuming they have telephones in Syria which is likely a safe bet.
Then there are the Israelis who have been put on notice by Bashir al-Assad and many of his ranking officers and other high officials that should the United States, British, French or any other Western power attack Syria then Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran and Hezballah will all attack Israel with everything they can muster. This threat will be their reaction whether Israel takes part in the attack or remains neutral. Since it has been made obvious that declaring themselves as neutral would be useless in protecting Israel from attack the Israelis went ahead and wasted their time and announced their intentions to leave Syria to their own civil war and not interfere in Syrian internal struggles. That is not to imply that Israel has had nothing to request about the entire situation that is developing over the Syrian use of chemical weapons on their own civilians. The Israelis actually asked the United States please advise them before they launch any attack. While Israel is not planning to assist any attack on Syria, with the standing threat that the Syrian response will be a general attack upon Israel by four nations and as many terrorists as they can muster, they probably would like the heads-up in order to at least be prepared for any eventuality. Unfortunately, for some reason I have a feeling that such a warning will not be forthcoming from President Obama. On the other hand, I would bet that the Israeli military monitoring capabilities would probably pick up any activity entering the Syrian theater, even if they were to do so from the Syrian Turkish border. This is even more likely as Turkey also accused Bashir al-Assad of using chemical weapons and has verified the British and French claims and has called for a military response.
I guess we need to conclude with our expectations and insights all of which are officially a poke in the dark guess. The first thing we would like to see presented before any retaliatory actions are initiated is the convincing evidence President Obama and his supporting cast claim to have in their position. The one truth which appears to be a certainty is that there was an actual deployment of chemical agent which killed hundreds of Syrian civilians. It is actually very probably this was the third time that chemical weapons have been loosed in the Syrian civil war. The ideal time to have addressed the chemical weapons stores in Syria would have been very early in the conflict with a precision attack or Special Forces intervention with either method having one dedicated target and otherwise avoiding any further interference which might have further effects on the status-quo. Once such an opportunity was missed and other nations took sides in the conflict there became complications which made any interference a risk of incurring a much larger conflict. That has become the threat which has been placed by those backing Bashir al-Assad when Russia, Iran, and China all issued warnings to President Obama not to interfere in any way in the Syrian internal conflict or face serious ramifications. Iran has agreed with the threat made by al-Assad that should there be an attack on the Syrian military or any of its resources then Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Hezballah at a minimum will ally with Syria in mounting an attack on Israel as their reply. Syria has also claimed that there are some surprises in store for any American forces or those of their allies should they attack Syria which will defend their nation with everything at their disposal. The most unfortunate reality which may be possible is that President Obama decides that a Syrian reply with all of her Middle Eastern allies against Israel is something which he is willing to risk and actually could not really care one way or the other. This lack of concern over any threat to Israel might also allow President Obama to disregard the Israeli request to be notified before the Americans or anybody attacks Syria, even if it is just minutes before the forces cross into Syria. Such disregard and disrespect shown an ally would normally be unthinkable but then President Obama has a standing record for unthinkable treatments concerning Israel. The worst possible result would be the Russians and/or Chinese enter into the conflict in support of Syria responding to an attack by the United States or any Western nation. The one sliver of good news was that the United States appears to have put off any attack until Thursday which may give them time to find some way around actually attacking Syria. The one suspicion which needs to be completely ruled out before any attack is launched against Bashir al-Assad is to know for a great degree of certainty that it was actually the Syrian military and not the rebel forces which deployed the chemical weapons. Exactly how such a level of assurance is possible to accomplish may be difficult but it is also one certainty which should be met before taking such a drastic measure as an attack. My prayers are going to be that President Obama backs down as even should he act it would not make him any more credible at this point in his tenure. In the meantime, I will have a very nervous week and am hoping that I am able to go to Rosh Hashanah services and praying for the war to end, be the war be in between Israel and the combined forces of Syria and her allies or an even worse case of a general war between the United States and whoever decides to ally with Iran and Syria in a general war which could become the worst conflagration in world history.
Beyond the Cusp