Syria is a mess. There are Assad’s government forces, there are “rebels” with weapons, there are al-Qaeda elements with weapons. On the sidelines are political rebels, Assad supporters without weapons, Assad opponents without weapons, and possibly others supporting non of the above, who just want to be left alone.
As the drums of war become louder and closer, the Middle East inches closer to the moment of truth, when the masks will be removed, and a likely American attack on Assad will show where Obama stands, with or without the support of the international community, and with or without the support of congress.
In the Arab world, the media seem to be concentrating only on the American attack on Syria.
Israeli Scholar of Arabic Analyzes Arab Street
Dr. Mordechai Kedar, an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, said:
At this point, the Arabs and Muslims have honed their positions and clarified their attitudes, because the penetrating questions can no longer be avoided:
- Do you support the American attack on Syria, an Arab country with a Muslim majority?
- Do you support Assad or the Americans?
- Would the Middle East be better off if Assad falls or not?
- Who would benefit from such an attack?
In Arab discussions, many Arab spokesmen refer to the attack on Saddam Hussein, “who was sent to the garbage heap of history in March 2003, but not before he brought upon himself and his surroundings untold suffering.” Dr. Kedar reminds us that Bashar al-Assad objected to the attack on Saddam then, possibly because he feared that he might be the target one day.
Dr. Kedar says “The comparison to the Iraqi events brings to mind the chaos that occurred in Iraq after Saddam was eliminated as well. Suicide terror that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of people until now, unending conflicts between tribes, jihad organizations, militias and various ethnic sects and groups, as a result of which, Iraq has disintegrated and sunk into a swamp of blood, fire and tears.”
See the important questions that Dr. Kedar says are discussed in the Arab media about the anticipated attack, at his blog, Doc’s Talk
Conservative Caucus Chairman Circumspect
Peter J. Thomas, Chairman of The Conservative Caucus says President Obama must jump through some serious hoops, and “provide Congress with all necessary information,” before there can be a vote on war with Syria.
“If the United States is to go to war with Syria over that nation’s use of chemical weapons, President Obama must make a compelling case on three points,” Thomas said. “First, he must show that preventing the use of such weapons is an important national interest of the United States. Second, he must prove that Syria has used such weapons. Third, he must demonstrate that he has a plan that will be effective in preventing further use of chemical weapons by Syria.”
Thomas says the President must give up any plans for an illegal attack, because “the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the sole authority to declare war.” Once there is a vote, if Congress votes against war with Syria, the president must not engage in war, because “Taking the United States to war without congressional authorization would be an impeachable offense, and Congress should make that clear during the debate over the Syria resolution.”
Many are worried that a strike on Syria with no goals, no specific outcome “would be worse than no action at all.” Thomas says “If the President intends nothing more than a face-saving gesture, then Congress has a duty to vote no.”
Michael Yon Questions Death Toll
Michael Yon, who has written stories in NewsBlaze notes some very interesting points around the allegations that President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on 21 August against his own people.
A year after the Benghazi attack that claimed our Ambassador and other Americans, we still have few answers. Speculation and conspiracy theories run rampant, while our government dodges the matter.
Yet mere days after the alleged chemical attacks in Syria, President Obama claimed that he had proof that Assad committed this crime against humanity, despite the fact that conditions for investigation in Syria are far more challenging than they are in Benghazi.
In the Middle Eastern environment of perpetual exaggeration, the highest death estimate by the rebels was 1,300 men, women and children killed. The US administration raised the rebel estimate to 1,429. Can we get a blood sample?
The bodies were buried within 24 hours in accordance with Islamic custom. Hardly enough time get an exact count of 1,429. From where did this number derive? Every serious combat trooper, cop, correspondent, anyone who sees action first hand and then sees reports, knows that first reports are always wrong, and often very wrong.
Nobody doubts that chemicals were used, but who did it? A rogue general? And where is the primary source for the count of 1,429?
Syria: Outrage is Not a Strategy – a story by by Michael Yon.
Democrat Doves Become Hawks
Strangely, Democrat Congressmen, after spending so many years beating up the Bush administration, now are beating the war drums, and urging the U.S. to take the role of the world’s policeman, judge and executioner. They are beating the war drums lacking definitive proof that is was Assad who used the weapons, without explaining any U.S. national security interest, and ignoring collateral damage and consequences.
Even noted peacemaker, Rhode Island Democratic Congressman Jim Langevin, issued a statement backing Obama and promoting war. Langevin also further inflated the number of deaths, a number that is almost impossible to ascertain, but is sure to cause outrage in supporters.
“Bashar al-Assad’s recent actions in Syria, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,500 innocent civilians, have flaunted international norms and basic morality. The use of chemical weapons is unacceptable, and I agree with President Obama that the Syrian regime must not be allowed to carry out these horrific attacks without a firm and unequivocal response from the international community.” – Congressman Jim Langevin (D-RI)
Cindy Sheehan Blames Violence On US Intervention
Recently announced California gubernatorial candidate Cindy Sheehan – who lost her son in Iraq, another ill-fated Mideast War – said today she will attend a Sacramento demonstration opposing U.S. military intervention in Syria. The rally is set for Saturday, Aug. 31, at 11:15 a.m. at the Federal Courthouse, 501 I St.
Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq and has now devoted her life to fighting for peace and social justice, as expected, condemned the proposed bombing of Syria.
“I strongly condemn any potential US led bombing of Syria using the battleships and Tomahawk missiles which are already in range. The US and its allies have already been arming and training the ‘rebels’ in Syria and are responsible for the majority of the violence and innocent civilians that are maimed or killed.”
“In fact, the ‘rebels’ in Syria are mostly al Qaeda extremists and the US bombs them in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia, yet gives them military aid in Syria?”
US Quick Decision v. UN Need For Two Weeks
The U.S. appears to have already decided it has proof that sarin gas was used by Syrian government forces in the Ghouta area of the Damascus suburbs, which it says left hundreds dead. This decision stands in stark contrast to the fact that UN weapons inspectors may need another two weeks before they can provide any results.
The UN inspectors left Syria for their base in The Hague on Saturday. The samples they gathered were sent to two labs in Europe on Monday.
Last Friday, Mr. Ban told the five permanent UN Security Council members that results could be ready in two weeks.
After Mr. Ban spoke with the UN chemical weapons inquiry chief Ake Sellstrom on Sunday, the UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters that Mr. Ban asked Sellstrom “to expedite the mission’s analysis of the samples and information it had obtained without jeopardizing the scientific timelines required for accurate analysis,” Nesirky said.
Mr. Ban spoke with the UN chemical weapons inquiry chief Ake Sellstrom on Sunday, asking him “to expedite the mission’s analysis of the samples and information it had obtained without jeopardizing the scientific timelines required for accurate analysis,” according to UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.
The Conclusion – Confusion, But No Conclusion
The jury is still out on many things. Who used the chemical weapons? The US says it was Assad. The UN weapons inspectors, who were sent to discover if chemical weapons were used, may not deliver a result for up to two weeks. The British Parliament voted to tell Prime Minister David Cameron to pull back, after he personally committed to back president Obama. Obama then leaned on the French, who were not in the area, but who conveniently said their intelligence reports say Assad was at fault.
So far, there is no conclusion – only confusion.