It looks like the bellicosity offered yesterday by John Kerry may have the perversely satisfactory effect of offering a way out of the Syrian mess
. Who'd a thunk...?
Clearly, the plan being discussed now, where Syria turns its chemical weapons over to international groups for eventual destruction goes well beyond “monitoring”. Is Obama claiming that discussions on monitoring are the equivalent of discussing this plan? Or is it just a desperate attempt to save face? I’m okay with face-saving if the lives of Syrian civilians are also spared.
Think of the possibilities. If Obama has decided that he really, really doesn't want war, then Assad can hide some weapons and everyone will pretend not to notice. On the other hand, if Obama has decided on war no matter what, then he can accuse Assad of hiding weapons even if Assad has done no such thing.
(No need to remind me that I had predicted that Assad would reject Putin's offer. I'm happy to be wrong about that.)
Here's the most daring article to come out of this whole mess: What if Sheldon Adelson and AIPAC Gave a War and No One Came?
AIPAC endorsed the idea of airstrikes early in this debate, and it moved not a single member of Congress. Ha'aretz noticed that, asking whether "the American Jewish establishment" had dealt itself permanent damage by revealing its total lack of influence on this issue. It's just not clear than any lobbying would have worked; too many members of Congress worry that displacing a secular tyranny will mean installing an Islamic one, and worry about the fate of millions of Syrian Christians. That's overwhelming the worry about Israel. It might be a watershed moment.
That's from Slate, a mainstream source. Bold stuff.
Israel wants America to fight a war that Israel can't fight by itself in order to shut down support for Hezbollah. Among other things, Hezbollah protects the water in Lebanon that Israel, as a matter of survival, covets. (And yes, I know about the deslination plants. They have their own problems.)
But the ploy was always far too transparent. Even Pam freakin' Geller
seems to have balked at the idea of giving Al Qaeda-linked jihadis a win in Syria. I doubt that Obama wants to see his poll numbers sink further
just to please AIPAC.
Also of note: Representative Justin Amash
has said: "If Americans could read classified docs, they'd be even more against #Syria action. Obama admn's public statements are misleading at best." He has tweeted other tweets along those lines, as seen to your left.
Let's not forget this important CNN story
from last December:
The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.
The training, which is taking place in Jordan and Turkey, involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials, according to the sources. Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels to monitor some of the sites, according to one of the officials.
For "defense contractors," we should probably read Blackwater or Xi or whatever they are calling themselves these days. We know that former Blackwater mercenaries
have been advising the rebels. They've also been getting lots of help from the CIA
Bottom line: The rebellion was being given instructions to capture CW stockpiles. Assad's weapons were targeted
Keep this fact in mind as you read this AP story
, which claims that Human Rights Watch has definitely decided that Assad -- and only Assad -- could have launched the attacks.
This article gives us the now-familiar stuff -- sarin, sarin, it was definitely sarin
-- but when it comes to the all-important question of assigning blame, certainty disappears and everything fades into a discomforting vagueness:
HRW added that evidence related to the type of rockets and launchers used in the attack "strongly suggests" that the weapon systems used are known and documented to be only in the possession of Syrian forces.
But, as noted above, the rebels were being trained to capture Syrian chemical weapons systems.
Why would Human Rights Watch sully its good name by spewing this propaganda?