by Stephen Lendman
Ousting Assad was planned years ago. At issue is replacing him with a pro-Western puppet. After two years of conflict, he hangs on resiliently.
Whether he'll survive is uncertain. Syria's military is strong and supportive. Free Syrian Army and US-recruited death squads are weak by comparison.
Reports suggest direct US intervention appears likely. NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis said he's ready to act if asked. Saying it suggests planned escalation.
Two Press TV reports raise concerns. One headlined "US military has plans to bomb and send forces in Syria: Washington Post."
Plans include "aerial bombings to deploying troops to 'seize (chemical) weapons sites….' "
Washington "sent thousands of protective suits and more than 150 military personnel to help special forces teams…." They're in Jordan near Syria's border.
"More aggressive US military options….involve….'destroy(ing) Assad's air force to prevent it from using aerial munitions.' "
A second Press TV report said Israel established ties to militants in Golan. Doing so suggests direct intervention.
Arab Media Watch chairman Sharif Kikmat Nashashibi was interviewed. He thinks Israel and Turkey will "join forces against Syria." They're preparing the ground to intervene, he said.
Chemical weapons use increases the odds. So does confirmation that Washington's arming Syrian insurgents. It's been ongoing since conflict began. Now it's public knowledge. More on that below.
UK journalist Alex Thompson spent time in Syria. He reports for Channel 4 News. He was there last June. He said insurgents tried to kill him. He was "set up to be shot in Syria's no man's land."
"In a war where (insurgents) slit the throats of toddlers back to the spine," he said, "what's the big deal in" putting journalists in harm's way to die.
On March 23, Thompson headlined "Syrian chemical weapons: finger pointed at jihadists."
A "senior source close to the Syrian Army (gave) Channel 4 News the first clear account" of chemical weapons use in Syria.
He's a "trusted and hitherto reliable source who does not wish to be identified."
Syria's military said a "home-made locally-manufactured rocket was fired….(It) contain(ed) a form of chlorine known as CL17."
The "warhead contained a quantity of the gas. (It was) dissolved in saline solution." Khan al-Asal was attacked. It's southwest of Aleppo.
Government forces control it. Jihadists attacked a Syrian army-controlled checkpoint. "The immediate effects were to induce vomiting, fainting, suffocation and seizures among those in the immediate area."
A local hospital medic said "he personally witnessed Syrian army helping those wounded and dealing with fatalities at the scene. That Syrian soldiers were among the reported 26 deaths has not been disputed by either side."
"The military source who spoke to Channel 4 News confirmed that artillery reports from the Syrian Army suggest a small rocket was fired from the vicinity of Al-Bab, a district close to Aleppo that is controlled by Jabhat al-Nusra - a jihadist group said to be linked with al-Qaeda…."
Chlorine is harmful when mixed with water. It forms hydrochloric acid. It vaporizes quickly. It's easily used as a chemical device. It's not powerful enough to cause mass casualties.
Syrian accounts square with "some key agreed facts." They include relatively few casualties and jihadists' access to chemicals.
On March 24, Haaretz headlined "Jihadists, not Assad, apparently behind reported chemical attack in Syria."
Western sources and media scoundrels initially blamed Assad. Syrian soldiers were killed. Government officials demanded an international investigation.
"These two facts would indicate that Assad's forces were not behind the attack."
Physical and medical evidence suggests chlorine gas was used. Jihadists appear able to place it in a warhead, secure it so it doesn't leak, and launch it to explode on impact.
Perhaps CIA and other Western operatives helped them. Assad had nothing to do with attacking Syrian forces and civilians.
On March 24, The New York Times headlined "Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From CIA."
Airlifting arms, munitions and supplies began "in early 2012," said The report.
Washington's been involved since conflict began. Earlier claims about restricting help to non-lethal aid didn't wash.
Intervention now includes "more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports."
CIA operatives are involved. They're working closely with Turkey and Arab governments.
"From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive (them) as they arrive."
According to one analyst, "The intensity and frequency of these flights are suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation."
The Times and other reports show Washington claims about supplying only non-lethal aid are false.
In 2007, Seymour Hersh discussed America's "redirection." Bush administration officials wanted Assad's ties to Iran and Hezbollah undermined.
Doing so included aiding extremist groups with known Al Qaeda ties. Dick Cheney, Elliot Abrams, Condoleezza Rice, Zalmay Khalizad, Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and Israel were involved.
Efforts went on covertly. Congress wasn't told. Ways around congressional funding were used. Saudis provided money.
What Bush began, Obama continues. Strategy includes death squad diplomacy. It's standard practice in all US direct and proxy wars.
Mass murder, targeted assassinations, unspeakable atrocities, intimidation, and terrorizing America's enemies into submission reflect longstanding policy.
So is arming, funding, training and directing US-recruited insurgents. Proxy death squad use is longstanding practice. They're used in Syria.
Crimes of war and against humanity occur daily. Syria's being systematically destroyed. Assad loyalists and government forces are targeted. Libya 2.0 looms. What's ongoing now suggests it's likely.
Thousands died. No one knows for sure how many. If full-blown war erupts, body count numbers will explode.
On March 21, The Hill said Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin (D. MI) "joined with Senate Republicans (to) demand that (Obama) take military action" against Syria.
Levin and John McCain wrote the White House. They urged "limited military options, including airstrikes…." They want Assad ousted. They want Syria destroyed.
"We believe there are credible options at your disposal, including limited military options, that would require neither putting US troops on the ground nor acting unilaterally," they said.
They want a "safe zone" established on Syria's border with Turkey. Levin's call for military intervention reflects a "major shift."
Previously he urged sanctions and diplomacy alone. He's at odds with other Democrats. He wants to "go further than the president." He's considered a moderate.
He chairs an important Senate committee. His support for direct military intervention suggests it's coming. So do reports about CIA involvement in airlifting arms and munitions.
Washington's war involves NATO, Israel and regional allies. It bears repeating. Libya 2.0 looms. It could erupt full-blown any time.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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