Preemptive Strike on Syria Looms
by Stephen Lendman
Washington planned war on Syria years ago. Only its timing and methodology remained to be decided.
US administrations want all independent governments replaced by pro-Western puppet regimes. War is the bottom line option when other methods fail.
Washington's proxy war on Syria raged since winter 2011. Full-scale intervention looms. Pretexts are easy to invent when none exist.
Fabricating a chemical weapons threat appears the option of choice. Iraq WMD 2.0 hype headlined enough convinces most people of a nonexistent danger.
Full-scale war could erupt anytime. Washington positioned a powerful fighting force off Syria's coast. British and French warships joined it. Offensive Patriot missiles are being placed in Turkey on Syria's border.
On December 8, Today's Zaman headlined "Six Patriot batteries, 600 foreign troops to be deployed in Turkey."
They'll be positioned within weeks. Perhaps around yearend or early 2013. Washington, Germany and the Netherlands are involved. Deploying them is for offense, not defense.
Except for Israel's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons arsenal, Turkey is the region's most powerful military. It's one of the world's largest fighting forces.
It needs no protection from Syria or other regional states. Damascus, of course, has no reason or intention to attack Turkey. Doing so would be suicide.
Alleging the possibility is falsified hype. Doing so escalates tensions. It advances the ball toward full-scale US-led NATO intervention.
On December 8, The Hill headlined "Report: DOD drafting plans to strike Syrian chemical weapons targets," saying:
Plans are being readied to preemptively attack. Doing so is "prompted by concerns over (Syria's) chemical weapon stockpiles."
"Recent US intelligence showed Assad's forces outfitting air-to-ground bombs with sarin gas at two airfields in Syria, according to CNN."
Pentagon officials are assessing their strategic options. According to an unnamed DOD source:
"The more information and intelligence you have, the more clarity you can bring to options you may decide to use. You would expect new information like this to drive an update of options."
Everything is on the table. Implied is full-scale intervention looms.
On December 9, Voice of Russia (VoR) interviewed Carnegie Moscow Center director Dmitry Trenin.
He thinks Washington considers two ways to oust Assad: politically by recognizing and supporting Syrian opposition elements and/or direct intervention.
Deploying Patriot missiles is an aggressive step. They afford no-fly zone cover over border areas. They also provide safe haven protection for miles within them.
A "liberated enclave can be created in the north of Syria and that enclave could become the (liberated) territory (to) host a provisional government or (an area) where they would be able to form a government," said Trenin.
Doing so "change(s) things on the ground pretty seriously." Ousting Assad forcibly would follow. Obama won't tolerate stalemate much longer.
It's very possible or likely he'll preemptively target alleged chemical weapon sites. Doing so "would constitute direct military intervention."
Trenin thinks Obama perhaps decided to do so. Libya 2.0 may follow. He calls what's ongoing and forthcoming a "really-really grim picture."
Direct intervention may be nearer than he envisions. VoR said oriental studies expert Boris Dolgov thinks Syrian opposition forces "might get hold of (chemical weapons), use them in small quantities, and put the blame on government troops."
Doing so "would serve as a good pretext for the US to intervene."
Institute of Strategic Studies and Analysis expert Sergei Demidenko said Ankara put itself in the position of "(v)ictory or death. It is set on supporting militants for the purpose of overthrowing the Syrian regime. It's a great mistake."
Publicly, Russia holds out hope for diplomacy. Privately it knows that full-scale war looms. How it plans react remains unclear.
It has much to lose by inaction. Putin at times shows resolve. He sharply criticizes US imperialism. It's time for him to step up to the plate assertively. Words without follow-through ring hollow. His moment of truth is now.
On December 8, Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) headlined "Assad's last warning to rebels before using chemical weapons. West, Israel on high preparedness."
Without evidence or logic, it claims Assad may "resort to chemical warfare." Saying so is falsified inflammatory hype.
Opposition forces captured an Al Safira "chloride factory." It's east of Aleppo.
"This is a codename for the Syrian army's biggest chemical weapons store and base, which also houses Syrian Scud D missiles armed with chemical warheads adjusted to fire at Israel."
DF provided no proof. It also claimed Assad's warning to "rebels" not to use chemical weapons gives him "justif(ation) to use them himself."
Again, no evidence whatever suggests it. Claiming it escalates tensions. Full-scale war approaches.
Longtime Middle East analyst Robert Fisk is no Assad supporter. On December 8, he headlined "Bashar al-Assad, Syria, and the truth about chemical weapons."
His father Hafez "was brutal but never used chemical weapons." What regional army used them first, he asked? Not Saddam. In 1917, Britain under General Allenby used them against Turkish forces.
He omitted Winston Churchill (in 1919) advocating poison gas use against "uncivilized" Iraqis. Its WW I use caused 100,000 deaths and 900,000 injuries.
Fisk stopped short of explaining that Israel uses various forms of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. So does America. It's longstanding policy in both countries. So is targeting civilians. They're treated like combatants.
Both countries test new weapons in real time. It's evident from what type injuries show up. Doctors find what they never saw before.
Bashar has no intention of using chemical or other illegal weapons. "Washington is playing the same gas-chanty all over again," said Fisk.
"(Over) the past week, all the pseudo-experts who couldn't find Syria on the map have been warning us again of the mustard gas, chemical agents, biological agents that Syria might possess - and might use."
"And the sources," asked Fisk? "The same fantasy specialists (who) insisted that Saddam had" WMDs: "unnamed military intelligence sources (UMIS)."
Fisk omitted falsified media scoundrel reports, commentaries and analysis. Instead of real news and information, official hype is regurgitated. It's repeated ad nauseam.
Viewers get it on television. Readers see screaming headlines and misinformation. Fabricated accounts substitute for truth and full disclosure. Media scoundrels advance the ball for war.
They follow the same pattern against all US targets. They march in lockstep with America's imperial policy. They ignore premeditated slaughter and mass destruction.
Syrians face what Washington inflicted on Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and numerous other countries. Imperial wars aren't pretty. America wages them no holds barred.
On December 9, Haaretz headlined "Sunday Times: Israel has waged 'secret war' to track Syria WMD(s)," saying:
Unnamed Israeli sources claim Assad repositioned chemical weapons over the past week.
"Israel has deployed spotters across the border to monitor the movement of Syria's non-conventional arms cache."
Washington "and its allies are weighing military options to secure Syria's chemical and biological weapons, US officials said last week."
Attacking Syria has nothing to do with Assad's weapons. Earlier falsified reports claimed he planned using chemical agents against opposition forces in Homs and other areas.
Claims were made about gas masks distributed to Syrian forces. Evidence wasn't presented to prove it. Nothing now suggests Assad threatens anyone.
On December 9, the Syrian Free Press headlined "Who Defends Its Own People, and Is Bastion of Resistance and Reference Point for Arab People, Will Never Use Chemical Weapons Against Them."
Syria's Foreign and Expatriates Ministry addressed two identical letters to Moroccan Security Council chairman Mohamed Loulichki and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It states in part:
"The US administration has consistently worked over the past year to launch a campaign of allegations on the possibility that Syria could use chemical weapons during the current crisis."
Syria "will not use chemical weapons, if it possesses any, whatever the circumstances because it is defending its people against terrorism supported by known countries, above all is the USA."
"What raises concerns regarding this news circulated by the media is our serious fear that some of countries backing terrorism and terrorists might provide the armed terrorist groups with chemical weapons and claim that it was the Syrian government which did use the weapons."
Turkey's Yurt newspaper was cited. It said Al Qaeda elements are producing chemical weapons in a laboratory near Gaziantep, Turkey.
They threaten to use them. Yurt also reported online video showing terrorists making poison gas. Allegedly chemical materials supplied by a Turkish company are being used.
"Those countries launching the campaign against Syria had better follow up on that act and hold those terrorists and the parties which helped them get the chemical materials to account," the Ministry added.
It acknowledged that opposition fighters took over a facility containing "tons of poisonous chlorine." At issue is weaponizing it against Syrians and blaming Assad.
In late 2003, Syria submitted a draft Security Council resolution. It urged a nuclear, chemical and biological-free region. Washington and Western allies blocked it.
On November 23, America unilaterally cancelled a planned mid-December nuclear conference. It was aimed at establishing a nuclear-free region. Doing so supported Israel. Netanyahu refused to attend.
Israel is the region's only nuclear power. It won't relinquish its arsenal or let other regional states develop their own. It doesn't acknowledge its weapons or permit inspections.
It hasn't signed NPT. It's a nuclear outlaw. It's partnered with Washington's campaign to oust Assad. It continues relentlessly.
In late November, longtime Middle East analyst Patrick Seale wrote about Syria's agony. A "prominent Arab" told him that "Syria, as we know it, is finished!"
He called losing Syria's regional role a "major casualty." Since WW II, it "played a pivotal role in Arab politics….It used to be said that there can be no war without Egypt and no peace without Syria."
Since 1948, it's led "resistance to Israel." If Syria collapses, "a new regional configuration of power is likely to emerge in which Islamists of various stripes seem destined to play a bigger role."
Seale may be saying be careful what you wish for. Things may not turn out as planned. It remains to be seen what's ahead and what follows.
Dmitry Trenin is right. What's likely appears "really, really grim."
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.