syria iraq wmds
© unknown
Iraq has WMDs, Assad has WMDS, Trump has Russian connections!
"There's an old saying in Tennessee - I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee - that says, 'Fool me once, shame on... shame on you. But fool me... can't get fooled again!'."

~ Dubya interpretation of 'Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me', Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
The anti-Assad propaganda is in full swing with contradictory and unsubstantiated claims that the Syrian government has "used chemical weapons against its own people." Against this backdrop of faulty, evocative rhetoric, Israel recently launched deadly air strikes on Syrian territory. Like textbook plagiarism or a record on repeat, we're seeing a re-run of the 'Weapons of Mass Destruction' (WMD) lies that led to the illegal invasion of Iraq ten years ago.

UN investigator Carla del Ponte reported that if any sarin gas was used in Syria, it was actually fired by the US-backed opposition rebel forces, not the state forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

The damning additional fact is that the Syrian 'rebels' the West are arming are, in reality, terrorist 'Al-Qaeda' factions, as has been admitted in the French daily Le Monde and supported by an admission in the New York Times. Just as many Azawadi rebels in northern Mali last year defected from the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad to Al-Qaeda-in-the-Islamic-Maghreb and other CIA fronts ahead of full-scale military intervention by Western powers in January 2013, Free Syrian Army 'rebels' are consolidating their allegiances to (and pooling their resources with) Jabhat al-Nusra, "an Al Qaida associate operating in Syria" that is responsible for cross-border attacks in Turkey and Lebanon.

Del Ponte's revelation directly contradicts the West's claims that Syrian forces used chemical weapons, but this clarification didn't prevent Washington from abetting Israel's bombing of Damascus International Airport and Syrian military targets across Damascus. Israeli appeasers claim that its air attack targeted weapons provided by Iran that would have ended up in the hands of Hezbollah. The air-strikes were coordinated with assaults carried by the 'al Qaeda rebels' against Syrian government forces. These pre-emptive acts of aggression are the third Israeli air-strikes in Syria since January this year. Israel has thus far escaped scrutiny or condemnation by an inept UN Security Council.

So do these false accusations of chemical weapons represent a step up by the US administration towards a full-scale invasion of Syria? Is this predominantly a way to get to Iran? Is Syria being targeted because of its oil and gas resources? Or is the main driver here a marketing campaign to sell more weapons to sheikhs in the Middle East?

Iraq WMDs - Déja vu

Syria iraq
© Evans
Deja vu all over again?
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq we saw US Secretary of State Colin Powell lying to the Security Council about Saddam Hussein's mythical WMD stockpile. This ushered in the 'coalition of the bought and paid for' to execute the annihilation of Iraq that led to the deaths of 1,455,590 Iraqis.

As Powell's Chief of Staff at the time, the man responsible for reviewing the intelligence information used by Powell was US Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson. In a recent interview on Current TV, Wilkerson, now retired and critical of the Bush administration's legacy, believes that the chemical weapons used in Syria may have been a contrived Israeli "false-flag" operation to implicate Bashar Assad's regime.

Just prior to the recent Israeli air-strikes in Syria, newly appointed Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel took centre stage, regurgitating flimsy intelligence reports that were lapped up by a complicit media to produce war frenzy and justify military escalation against Syria.

The nauseating political rhetoric is replete with nonsensical references to mythical 'red lines being crossed' and sensationalist 'game-changer' nonsense. The US stooges believe "with varying degrees of confidence" that chemical weapons have been used "on a small scale" inside Syria. Is it actually possible to invent a more ambiguous phrase to intentionally obfuscate the facts? Especially in light of subsequent UN statements pointing to sarin nerve gas use being used by the very 'rebels' the US is supporting.

The 'magic wand' of 'intelligence' is being waved once again to generate the illusion of WMDs where none exist. The magic wand has now passed to Hagel and vague, veiled references to stockpiles of WMDs have become THE 'evidence' that 'crosses the red line', a 'red line' arbitrarily set by the greatest stockpiler (and user) of WMDs the world has ever known. The wand of 'intelligence' has the added benefit that it can be used later as a lightning rod to take the blame for committing war crimes when the spells are broken, the lies become clear and the public calls for those responsible for atrocities to be held to account. Picture future headlines: 'Invading Syria was a strategic error because the intelligence turned out to be bad'...

The chemical weapons 'evidence' is fuelling yet another phony 'public debate' about whether or not to send military aid to the 'rebels'. Speaking at a Pentagon press conference about stepping up arms sales, Hagel said, "Yes, arming the rebels is an option". They were armed by the CIA and friends from the very beginning, so this posturing about whether or not to do so is BS.

Chuck Hagel: Pro-Israel
, Pro-War

In a recent editorial, Pepe Escobar presents the view that the chemical weapons charade is little more than an arms industry marketing ploy:
The weaponizing free fest to Israel and the Gulf petro-monarchies - missile defense, fighter jets, mega-bombs - could not but be duly hailed as the proverbial "message" to "counter Iran's nuclear ambitions", or "the air and missile threat posed by Iran", or the general "worry about Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon" or "Washington's determination to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."

There's no "red line" here; just hardcore weaponizing of Israel and the GCC. Any doubts, blame it on Iran. And this while Saudi-controlled media in the Middle East - roughly everything except al-Jazeera - was breathlessly spinning that Tel Aviv is pursuing a deal to use Turkish soil for an attack on Iran.

Wait; there's more weaponizing on the way - bound to neighboring latitudes. Kraus-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) from Germany closed another $2.48 billion deal with Qatar - five years in the making - to deliver 62 Leopard 2 tanks and 24 self-propelled howitzers. Qatar is not exactly using them for the 2022 FIFA World Cup; they are bound to "friendly groups in other countries" - as in Syria's "rebels", via Turkey.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
© AFP/Pool/AFP
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is greeted by Deputy Minister of Defense Prince Fahd bin Abdullah
Useful supporting information to the profit motive is found in the timing and Abu Dhabi location of Chuck Hagel's announcement.

Before Hagel's departure on a six-nation tour of the Middle East, the Pentagon announced plans for a $10 billion weapons sale to Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, including 25 F-16 fighter jets, missile systems, long-term military training, support and 'collaboration'.

Was it just coincidence that a short time after Hagel announced the flimsy 'just released' intelligence that the Assad regime had 'likely used chemical weapons', he was scheduled to meet Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, Abu Dhabi crown prince and deputy head of the UAE's armed forces, to finalise negotiations for the weapons deal? There's nothing like the threat of a regional war to bring some urgency to a Sheikh signing on the dotted line...

However, it seems rather poor salesmanship to have announced completely contradictory statements regarding chemical weapons intelligence sources just the day before:
Even one day earlier, Sec. Hagel himself had doubts about the rumored use of chemical weapons. Speaking in Cairo, Egypt on Wednesday, Hagel said that Israeli claims of Assad employing chemical warfare were "suspicious" and that "we have to be very careful here before we draw any conclusions based on real intelligence."
Shortly after Hagel met with Netanyahu, Israel launched it's air-strikes on Syria, so one angle on these weapons sales is that they're sweeteners for 'cooperation' hashed out at these 'strategic meetings'.

For all the talk of Hagel's 'anti-Israeli stance' prior to his appointment, in a short time he has picked up the art of treacherous diplomacy, saying one thing one day, something quite different the next, all the while ensuring business as usual.

There are several other reasons to doubt his motives and trustworthiness. Chuck Hagel is a multimillionaire, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and past President of McCathy Capital. McCathy's investments include Safe Boats International LLC, a specialty manufacturer of high performance boats for domestic military and international military use. Although there is no indication of any ongoing deals between Middle Eastern nations and Safe Boats, their products would naturally be highly marketable during any military escalations affecting the Straights of Hormuz and other regional waters.

Incidentally, Hagel also has ties with the big US oil giant Chevron since 2010. Hagel served on the board of Chevron Corp where he owned significant Chevron stock and in 2011 received $301,199 in compensation. He stepped down from that position and another at Deutsche Bank after being sworn in as Defense Secretary in March of this year. Chevron won Syrian oil exploration concessions in the 1980s and in July 2012, Chevron finalised an oil exploration deal with Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdish region. It is also one of several Western oil companies who supply jet fuel to UAE airports.

Chevron, the US's second-largest oil company, is a major federal contractor, with more than $501 million in sales to the US government in the last fiscal year. It has a history of politically connected Iraq-war-hawk board members such as Condoleezza Rice, who served on the company's board before becoming National Security Adviser for George W. Bush.

Syrian Oil, Gas and Supply

Perhaps, as it was in Iraq, it is Syria's rich oil and natural gas reserves and their supply links that certain Western powers have their eyes on...
'Oil and Pipeline Geopolitics: The US-NATO Race for Syria's Black Gold'
Manlio Dinucci, Global Research, 7 April 2013

Syria's proven oil reserves, amounting to 2.5 billion barrels, are greater than those of all neighboring countries except Iraq: according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration's estimation of its oil reserves. This makes Syria one of the largest producers and exporters of crude oil in the Middle East.

The country also has large reserves of natural gas, hitherto used for domestic consumption, especially for conversion to gas-fired power plants. [...]

Even more dangerous for Western interests is the agreement signed in May 2011 between Damascus, Baghdad and Tehran: it involves the construction of a gas pipeline through Iraq, which will transport Iranian natural gas to Syria and from there to foreign markets. These and other already funded projects, have been blocked by what the U.S. agency defines as "the uncertain security situation in Syria".
Iran Syria pipeline
© Reuters
Iran gas pipeline to key ally Syria.
Secret government memos published in 2011 revealed that plans to exploit Iraq's oil reserves were discussed by government ministers and the world's largest oil companies a whole year before Britain joined the US in invading Iraq. Oil giant BP has now regained its pre-Saddam stranglehold over the country's largest oil fields.

Current oil-extraction efforts in Syria are hampered by the illicit oil trade conducted by local tribes and smugglers. The European Union has lifted its embargo on the Syrian government's energy exports by importing oil from the 'armed opposition', in violation of international law. Gearóid Ó Colmáin describes this arrangement as a joint EU/Al-Qaeda oil venture and believes that NATO's reasons in this conflict are clear:
"break up and destroy an independent sovereign state; rob and pillage all of its resources; rape and terrorize its citizens into submission by unleashing drugged and brain-washed death squads on the population; constantly blame all of this on the 'regime', then finish the country off with an intensive aerial bombing campaign before installing a crime syndicate to run the country. Finally, call that holocaust freedom. Call that holocaust democracy. It's a tried and trusted formula which is now being deployed all over the world in NATO's megalomaniacal drive for global supremacy."

Is Syria a Proxy War on Iran?

Syria libya iran
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Up until now, Western imperialist strategy in Syria has been a 'covert' one, directing and arming the barbaric 'Free Syrian Army', which is committing atrocities all over the country.

Aligning with the extremists (read, terrorists) is a tried and tested Modus Operandi for NATO powers. Note that they openly armed and funded the 'Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (also with 'Al-Qaeda affiliations') to topple Colonel Gaddafi in 2011.

For further evidence of this strategy, it was also recently revealed that the US State Department hired Al-Qaeda-linked militants to "defend" the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that was later attacked.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya at Global Research proposes that the primary objective of intervention in Syria is De-linking Syria from Iran in order to change the Middle East's strategic balance in favour of the US and Israel. Failing that, Nazemroaya suggests that the destruction and fragmentation of Syria will serve this purpose by preventing Syria from providing Iran with regional diplomatic, political, economic, and military support. As to who is responsible for manufacturing this civil war in Syria, fingers are firmly pointed at Israel, working in a conglomerate comprised of the US, Britain, France, Turkey (in fact, all NATO member states), Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and others:
The slow bleeding of Syria has other [apart from Israel] interested parties that want to smash the country and its society into pieces. The US is foremost among these interested parties, followed by the Arab dictators of the petro-sheikhdoms. NATO has also always been covertly involved.

NATO's involvement in Syria is part of the US strategy of using the military alliance to dominate the Middle East. This is why it was decided to establish a component of the missile shield in Turkey. This is also the reason that Patriot missiles are being deployed to the Turkish border with Syria. The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI) and NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue are components of these plans too. Additionally, Turkey has ended its veto against the further integration of Israel into NATO.

NATO has been reorienting itself towards asymmetrical warfare and greater emphasis is now being put on intelligence operations. NATO strategists have increasingly been studying the Kurds, Iraq, Hezbollah, Syria, Iran, and the Palestinians. In the scenario of an all-out war, NATO has been preparing itself for overt military roles in both Syria and Iran.
Other analysts such as Eric Draitser at agree that Syria is vital to US hegemony in the Middle East:
We have to remember the US adventure in Syria ending in defeat would be the end of US hegemony in the Middle East. If they're unable to continue their march from Syria, that means their attempt to destroy Iran is unlikely to evolve. That means that their stranglehold over the Persian Gulf and the oil resources is weakening so they're putting all their cards on the table and all their chips in the pot when it comes to Syria.

A Long War with Immense Human Cost

Syria children
© Rutgers
Small Syrian children playing in the rubble of a war-torn Syria.
Barring a successful assassination attempt, columnist Robert Fisk believes Assad isn't going anytime soon and points out that the NATO-supported rebel forces are losing their hold on Damascus. He also compares the attempted overthrow of Assad with Israel's failed plan to deconstruct Iran by fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. Fisk's outlook for the Syrian 'war' is a protracted two or three year battle culminating in no side winning.

As always in Western imperial adventures there are no winners, only tremendous suffering brought upon an innocent population.

We read daily reports of atrocities and suffering in Syria from Western media whose reliability we no longer trust. We cannot possibly fathom what conditions are like for the citizens of Syria caught up in this bloodshed. Assad is by no means innocent of accusations of brutality and oppression of Syrian population. There is a genuine groundswell for change within Syria - as there is the world over - and an opposition that is pushing for fundamental reform.

However, it is increasingly apparent that US, UK, NATO and Israeli covert operations ignited and exploited this movement to maintain and advance their claim to regional resources while 'reshaping' the Middle East in their image. Whatever the correct course of action to alleviate humanitarian suffering, arming ruthless mercenaries and sending troops in to deal with the mess will only worsen the situation, no matter how Western politicians frame their enthusiasm for full-scale military intervention.

Iraqi child
© Photo: Master Sgt. Andy Dunaway
3 million Iraqi children suffered varying degrees of PTSD
It comes as no surprise to me that life for most Libyans is worse than it was under Gaddafi and even a decade after Bush's 'Mission Accomplished' speech, the situation for Iraqi children is still as desperate. Recently reported statistics of daily violence, death and insecurity make Iraq "one of the world's most neglected crises". The appropriately entitled Mission Unaccomplished report provides alarming evidence of the ongoing human suffering of Western 'democratic' intervention including:
  • An estimated 35,000 infant deaths every year in Iraq.
  • One in four children has stunted physical and intellectual development due to under-nutrition
  • In 2010, 7 years after the conflict began, it was estimated that over a quarter of Iraqi children, or 3 million, suffered varying degrees of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Spelling out what many of us have known ever since the first bombs exploded in Iraq, former war reporter and Sunday Telegraph London editor Andrew Gilligan pointed out that removing Saddam Hussein from power did not rescue Iraqis from the grip of a tyrant, but instead subjected ordinary citizens to far greater suffering than had Iraq been left alone:
"Life under Saddam under the last ten years would not have been pleasant but it would have been better for most people, and a lot fewer people would have died, than it has been under so-called liberation," he said.
Like a horrific slow-motion train crash materialising on the horizon, the innocent people of Syria have been rail-roaded along a similar one-way track to destruction, through no fault of their own, pawns in a Global War on Terror that marks the 'high point' of Western civilization.
Children in Syria
© kenneth Jarecke
Children in Syria caught in political games of imperialism