Last night, for the first time in a while, the discussion on MSNBC annoyed the hell out of me. Everyone is acting as though the WP never published these words in that bombshell "let's party in the Seychelles" piece
The meeting took place around Jan. 11 — nine days before Trump’s inauguration — in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, officials said. Though the full agenda remains unclear, the UAE agreed to broker the meeting in part to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria, a Trump administration objective that would be likely to require major concessions to Moscow on U.S. sanctions.
The obvious conclusion, which everyone missed: Trump gave up on Assad at some point before January 11.
Putin doesn't really care about Assad. Not really
really. He cares much more about those sanctions, which are killing the Russian economy and endangering his own rule. The Russian leader will throw the embattled Syrian leader under that proverbial bus if, in return, America lifts sanctions, stays out of Ukraine, weakens NATO, and doesn't interfere with Russian attempts to subvert other European elections.
It's been obvious to me for a while that the big prize is Russia's oil. Putin wants the stuff flowing into Europe and shipped to America, and he wants the price to rise much higher than it is now. (The current price of oil is ridiculously -- unsustainably -- low, a fact you should in mind if you're shopping for a new car. You can pick up a Prius pretty cheap these days.)
Putin knows that if he plays ball with Trump, Russia can become rich. That's the prize, compared to which Assad is nothing
. Yet all of those talking heads on MSNBC reacted as though Trump's anti-Assad statement indicates a rift between the Donald and the Vlad. Like hell it does!
For right now, though, it may serve the purposes of both men to pretend
that a rift exists. After all, there's a Senate "Russiagate" investigation which needs to be quashed.
The chemical attack.
Everyone has presumed that Assad carried out the most recent attacks, but right now, no hard evidence backs this presumption. Lawrence Wilkerson has pointed out -- reasonably -- that using chemical weaponry is a desperation measure, one that you might expect from someone about to lose a war. Assad is winning
right now. How the hell could an attack on a civilian population benefit his cause?
The attack served only to give Trump an excellent excuse to send troops the Syria. Remember: A covert troop buildup has already been underway for weeks
. Whatever plan Trump has in mind, the attack gave it cover.
The attack also gives Putin
cover. When the time is right, he'll go along with the program hammered out in the Seychelles.
The Al Masdar News -- a UAE-based outlet occasionally cited by Western media -- questions the presumption of Assad's responsibility
. Please understand that I am not
claiming that what follows is Gospel Truth: I'm simply saying that before we all do the great conclusion-hop, we need to consider a few alternative scenarios. Here's one.
It is known that about 250 people from Majdal and Khattab were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists last week. Local sources have claimed that many of those dead from the chemical weapons were those from Majdal and Khattab.
This would suggest that on the eve of upcoming peace negotiations, terrorist forces have once again created a false flag scenario. This bares resemblance to the Ghouta chemical weapons attack in 2013 where the Syrian Army was accused of using the weapons of mass destruction on the day that United Nations Weapon’s Inspectors arrived in Damascus.
Later, in a separate chemical weapon usage allegation, Carla del Ponte, a UN weapons inspector said that there was no evidence that the government had committed the atrocity. This had however not stopped the calls for intervention against the Syrian government, a hope that the militant forces wished to eventuate from their use of chemical weapons against civilians in Khan-al-Assal.
AMN goes on to claim that Orient News (a Damascus-based rival news service focused on Syria) tweeted a report of the chemical attack hours before it happened.
Meanwhile, pick up trucks have been photographed around bodies of those killed. Again, it must be questioned why there are people around sarin gas without any protective gear, and not affected at all when it can begin attacking the body within seconds? Also, the pick up trucks remain consistent to what local sources have said that many of those dead were kidnapped by Al-Qaeda terrorists from pro-government towns in rural Hama.
There may be a reasonable way to rebut these points; if you have such a rebuttal to offer, please share. My purpose here is simply to open up a discussion. Whatever your opinion of what you've read so far, the following paragraph seems difficult -- perhaps impossible -- to argue away.
With the Syrian Army and its allies in a comfortable position in Syria, making advances across the country, and recovering lost points in rural Hama, why would they now resort to using chemical weapons? It is a very simple question with no clear answer. It defies any logic that on the eve of a Syria conference in Brussels and a week before peace negotiations are to resume, that the Syrian government would blatantly use chemical weapons.
Bottom line: Trump needs a war to erase his Russian woes. This incident gives him an excuse to send in American troops in massive numbers. During the campaign he clearly indicated his desire to re-invade that part of the world to eradicate ISIS. If he is seen as the man who conquered ISIS, he will serve as president for eight years; Americans will forget his boorishness, his incompetence and his kleptocratic ways.
And at this moment, if he is seen -- temporarily -- as acting in opposition to Putin, so much the better.
So many people on DU and Kos and Twitter have predicted a rapid Trump impeachment. The same voices also predicted, with equal confidence, a Hillary win so massive that it would turn the Senate blue. Stop kidding yourselves. The Trumpian hordes have clearly indicated that they want to see Susan Rice and perhaps Obama himself indicted -- and now that Bannon no longer has a day job, he can devote all of his time to "Trumping up" the evidence. Watch it happen.