In brief, the US launched an attack of 50–60 Tomahawk missiles against the Syrian Shayrat airbase near Homs, in retaliation for the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime near Idlib, in an area held by Islamist rebels. The Russians were warned in advance, and “U.S. military planners took precautions to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel located at the airfield, ” according to Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis.
But exactly why the US did so and what is happening behind the scenes is not clear, but here is some good analysis I have seen:
“Philip Giraldi says IC-Military Doubt Assad Gas Narrative,” The Scott Horton Show, 6 April, 2017.Philip Giraldi in the first link reports that intelligence and military personnel he has contact with report that the Russians’ explanation of the chemical attack is true: that a Syrian military attack using conventional bombs on the rebels in Idlib hit a chemical or chemical weapons storage facility that *belonged to the Islamist rebels themselves*. If true, this was all a tragic accident in wartime.
Justin Raimondo, “Trump Betrays Trumpism: Syria in the Crosshairs,” Antiwar.com, 7 April, 2017.
Turning to Trump’s attack on the Syrian Shayrat airbase, unless we see a major escalation of US efforts to remove Assad from now on, this military strike seems more symbolic than anything else. Could it be that the Trump administration did this in desperation to quash the hysterical media lies that Russia hacked the election and that Trump is Putin’s puppet?
At the moment, the Chinese President Xi Jinping is holding a summit with Trump, and when the military strikes happened Trump was hosting a dinner with Xi Jinping in Florida. One wonders whether it was also intended, as Breitbart reports, as some kind of attempt to intimidate the Chinese and warn them over the North Korea issue.
But, if Trump does move to ramp up the previous schizophrenic policy of both trying defeat ISIS in Syria and overthrowing the Assad regime, it will result in an utter catastrophe for Syria. It will be a major betrayal of his campaign promises and a Neocon-style foreign policy – a policy which he promised to repudiate last year.
The only real beneficiaries will be the increasingly authoritarian Islamist regime in Turkey, the fundamentalist Arab gulf states like Saudi Arabia, and Israel, who all want Assad gone for their own reasons.
Millions more migrants will swamp Europe. The only credible “opposition” in Syria are Islamist lunatics, who might gain power and then cause a bloodbath in that country.
And as for the media narrative and the line taken by the Trump administration and other Western governments that the Assad regime was responsible for a chemical weapons attack in Idlib province, we should all revisit Seymour Hersh’s brilliant investigative journalism from 2013–2014 on the Ghouta chemical attack of 21 August 2013, and the subsequent facts that came to light:
Seymour M. Hersh, “Whose Sarin?,” London Review of Books 35.24 (19 December 2013): 9–12.There is much evidence that the sarin attack at Ghouta in 2013 was perpetuated by the Islamist rebels, but orchestrated by Turkish intelligence in order to draw America into a major war in Syria to overthrow Assad.
Seymour M. Hersh, “The Red Line and the Rat Line: Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian Rebels,” London Review of Books 36.8 (17 April 2014): 21–24.
Peter Lee, “Hersh Vindicated? Turkish Whistleblowers Corroborate Story on False Flag Sarin Attack in Syria,” Counterpunch, 23 October, 2015.
Already in May 2013, a United Nations inquiry led by Carla Del Ponte concluded that chemical weapons had been used in Syria by the Islamist rebels, but that appears to have gone down the memory hole.
So – at the very least – what is needed now is an independent investigation of what happened and who did it, not some hysterical drumbeat for war fuelled by the media, and where the truth is clouded by propaganda from all sides.
As Peter Hitchens says here, this war hysteria and the demands for regime change over WMD are like 2003 all over again.
Former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer discusses the Syria situation here:
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