Beyond the Cusp

September 16, 2013

Syrian Chemical Weapons Returning to Iraq

It is like déjà vu in reverse as there are reports of heavily guarded convoys of large trucks crossing the Syria-Iraq border without any inspections. The report from the Lebanese paper Al-Mustaqbal told of twenty such heavy trucks. There will be detractors who will point out that Al-Mustaqbal is affiliated with the anti-Syrian political camp in Lebanon. The last time this occurred it resulted in cries of where are the WMDs with leftists and the anti-war-anti-Bush crowd in the United States conveniently forgetting the trains of trucks over the last weeks leading up to the second Gulf War transporting clandestine cargo from Iraq into eastern Syria and beyond. It will be interesting this time to see who will conveniently ignore these shipments crossing that same border only in the opposite direction. Anybody who claims where are the WMDs in a challenge to President Obama who was not a member of the President George W. Bush detractors should be ashamed of themselves as they are simply being spiteful, and that goes double for those who were supports of President George W. Bush as they should definitely know better. What I am wondering is exactly how much assistance are the Russians providing this time around as they were up to their necks in removing Saddam Hussein’s chemical and nuclear weapons materials and placing them safely beyond the border in Syria in order to embarrass the Americans and could easily be seen to be playing the same shell game once more.

 

Of course there are already denials from the Iraqi government which logically would not want to be suspected of receiving chemical weapons against numerous treaties. Saad Maan, a spokesperson for Iraq’s Interior Ministry was quoted as saying, “These accusations are all rumors and useless and no one believes them.” Additionally, Ali al-Mosawi, an advisor to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki claimed, “Iraq is against the possession of these weapons and other weapons of mass destruction anywhere in the world and under any pretext.”  All of this is especially curious coming on the heels of a Russian authored resolution to the crisis over the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict presumably by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashir al-Assad and the accusatory reaction to such reports by United States President Barack Obama. This had served to cross President Obama’s stated “Red Line” which was to result in severe reprisals from the United States including but not necessarily restricted to military intervention. President Obama was dithering and stalling in obvious attempts to find some path which would meet his threats while not including necessary military actions. It was in response to this predicament that Russian President Vladimir Putin made his grand gesture entering the scene rather overtly and dramatically providing President Obama a graceful, but not excessively graceful or without inflicting some pain and shame, path to redemption. Word of advice to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, take your medicine quietly and please cease your efforts to amend your images as anything other than woefully inadequate in the face of a crisis which was of Obama’s making in the first place is useless. Allow Putin to strut as he may overplay his hand and one should never stop a foe from overplaying their hand, and it would be to your advantage that this entire episode plays out as quietly and quickly as possible. There is no face saving coming your way.

 

This movement across the Syrian border into Iraq will need to be watched carefully and intently in order to verify any continued transfer of items by convoys as time proceeds. Attention should also be paid to the Lebanon border for any transfers of chemical weapons or other materials from Syria into Lebanon. Needless to point out that the Israelis will be paying special attention looking for any such movements and would likely be able to provide detailed information on any transfers from Syria into Lebanon and thus to Hezballah. Perhaps the world should be happy for small mercies as there is no need to worry about any other of the Syrian borders as neither Turkey nor Jordan would allow any chemical weapons to cross into their lands. The importance of this news and the implication of any of al-Assad’s chemical weapons being transferred across the Iraqi border depend on your main concerns. If your concern is simply the use of such weapons in the Syrian conflict, then this may be arguably acceptable resolution, but if your aim is like the majority appears to be demanding, that the chemical weapons not only not be utilized in the Syrian theater of war, but that the chemical weapons be completely destroyed, then this would be unacceptable and should be taken very seriously. If previous willful lack of concern when so much of Saddam Hussein’s weapons crossed this same border in the opposite direction prevails, then it will not cause any great concern on the world stage, especially at the United Nations, that such weapons and other related items such as warheads and precursors to such chemicals as Sarin and other binary agents are spirited off to be used in some future war. Such is one of the sad realities of politics and the enticement of turning one’s head in order to take the easiest route out of any situation no matter the ramifications as they can be blamed later on somebody else, they always are and there always is a somebody else, or so it seems.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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