Since the President’s reelection, the Obama administration and its allies have wasted little time renewing their efforts to justify open war on Syria. As usual, the English-language media are taking the warmongers at their word. Even progressive outlets like Democracy Now have failed to address the scale and intensity of bullshit coming from the NATO leadership in their bid to upgrade their involvement in the Syrian conflict from arming militants in a covert proxy war to a full-scale “humanitarian” intervention. To the extent that this failure of lefty media is a function of the willful ignorance of larger, mainstream outlets, it’s worth examining the rare voices of skepticism and dissent, like journalist Hans Springstein, who has been updating his Dec. 4 piece in the German paper Der Freitag on his blog.
The expanded piece makes some absolutely vital points about the parallels to the Bush administration’s prelude to the Iraq invasion, as well as details about the extent of current operations. I’ve translated it in its entirety, adding English sources where possible.
Chemical Weapons as Grounds for Intervention
by Hans Springstein
Current reports point to US plans for an intervention in Syria on account of the nation’s chemical weapons. The Spiegel online reports that the United States are officially preparing for an invasion of the country, which has been decimated by over a year and a half of war: “US plans possible Syria intervention with 75,000 troops” [see similar report from the New York Times]. Now the Syrian army’s chemical weapons must serve as justification. The United States claims to have proof that Syria is producing new Sarin gas, on account of which Nobel War Prize winner Barack Obama has warned his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad against using chemical weapons. The Syrian regime can clarify a hundred times or more that it does not intend to use these weapons against its own people [see Democracy Now]. It does not seem to matter what the Syrian regime says, as their view is of no importance. What matters, rather, is what the United States think. Some alleged evidence will turn up that Syria is ignoring Obama’s warning, as already happened to Iraq.
I am not surprised. The model is well known and proven. The justifications are interchangeable. No one appears able to stop the Western warmongers, who alongside covert war also do not shy from open war when it appears necessary to carry out their interests. This obtains time and time again.
Hence, the Patriot missiles to be installed in Turkey [see RT] (seemingly because Turkey requested them) acquire a new meaning. They would help to protect US intervention troops against the Syrian air force until the United States has sovereignty over Syrian airspace. No indeed, this is not an accidental coincidence of allegedly independent factors. Scenarios that have been worked on and played out for a long time will be carried out. Here, too, the justifications are interchangeable.
Addendum from 12/5/12: There’s always a pretext: “The US military covertly dispatched a special team of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan, where they will help the armed factions deal with the flow of refugees out of Syria, and prepare for the event that Syria loses control of its chemical weapons and the clashes in Syria broaden into a larger conflict.” (Source) [See the New York Times]
More: Franklin Lamb at Counterpunch.org has published a list of the top 24 nations, among more than three dozen, who are currently involved in illegal arms shipments to the “rebels” in Syria: the United States, Iraq, Lebanon, Israel, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Bahrain, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Yugoslavia [also listed as Yugoslavia on Counterpunch, unclear if Serbia is meant], the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, and Argentina.
Almost two-thirds of the abovementioned weapons suppliers are NATO members. (Source [English])
Recall that Iraq was once invaded on account of “weapons of mass destruction” and in order to prevent their use. Some appear to have again forgotten. After all, it was nine years ago…
Recall as well: “Bush regrets statements about weapons of mass destruction” [See BBC] and “Pentagon admits: Reason for Iraq War pulled out of thin air” [See World Socialist Web Site]. It sounds like mockery in the face of the situation in Iraq following the US war … But that does not stop the German warmongers in the media like Günter Nonnenmacher in the FAZ to make such contributions: “With all due caution in dealing with intelligence reports, one should presume that leading political actors – from the American President to the NATO Secretary General – would not send the Syrian leadership renewed warnings, were there no risk of the use of chemical weapons in the civil war. The Americans made it clear to President Bashar al Assad early on that using weapons of mass destruction entails crossing a ‘red line’; in other words: America and the West would not no longer be able to stand idly by, they would become a military party in the war.”
A further reminder: “The Americans’ assistance to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war apparently went further than previously known. US intelligence agents supported the military in Baghdad in planning the slaughter, although the US government knew of the Iraqi army’s use of poison gas.” (Source) [See Common Dreams]
Another interesting article about “Saddam Hussein and the poison gas lie”: “The accusation that Iraq had used chemical weapons against its own people is widely known. One piece of evidence, brought forth again and again in recent times, hinges on the March 1988 gassing of Iraqi Kurds in the city of Halabja, shortly before the end of the eight-year Iraq-Iran war. President Bush himself stated literally: ‘Iraq gassed its own people’. By this he meant the use of gas in Halabja and derived from this a justification for his long-desired toppling of Saddam Hussein. [See Information Clearing House]
“One thing is clear: On that day in Halabja, Kurds were bombarded with poison gas. We cannot however say with any certainty that Iraqi chemical weapons were used there. This claim is not the only fabrication in connection with the Halabja story.”
And a further note: “In the middle of a propaganda war”
Addendum from 12/5/12: There have long been indications that an excuse according to the Gleiwitz model will be prepared, whereby the use of chemical weapons will be attributed to Syria and, as a reaction, an invasion will be presented as unavoidable: “NATO Plot To Use Ambulances As Cover for Humanitarian Invasion of Syria” [Source is in English]
This scenario was also discussed in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung from September 3 2012: “… proven war criminals like the Obama regime and the Cameron regime, as well as the French President Sarkozy 2.0 , that is, Francois Hollande, have in the past days warned of the use of Syrian chemical weapons. Particularly ridiculous: Obama also warned that they could fall into the ‘wrong hands’. By this he can only have meant his own mercenaries from the CIA databank, Al Qaeda.
We should nevertheless take these threats seriously, since they could contain a plausible scenario for a “false flag” operation, a stage direction regarding how an imperialistic invasion might be triggered: The terrorist groups bring poison gas over the Saudi and Turkish borders and use them in Syria, then NATO accuse the dictator Assad of a ‘war against his own people’ and have their desired, self-made pretext for a direct entry into the war. …”
Addendum from 12/6/12: And it continues: “The Syrian authorities, reports Fox News, have developed chemical weapons and are prepared to use them. The news channel released the report Wednesday evening, citing a high-ranking official from the US administration.
According to Fox News, the weaponized chemical Sarin was produced and is ready for use.
They want their war, they wish to finally bring Syria to its knees, by all possible means. To this end, they also make use of such trustworthy sources as FOX News …
Any fear will be confirmed, hope for an end to the war against Syria will grow ever slighter. In the end will remain a ravaged country, another failed state, made ripe for the taking by domestic and foreign terrorists, at the end so preoccupied with itself that it no longer stands in the way of Western interests.
Hence, the following report is fitting: LONDON, December 5. / Correspondent. ITAR-TASS
The US Navy aircraft carrier “Dwight Eisenhower” arrived in the eastern part of the Mediterranean Sea today and approached the Syrian coast, the British media reported today.
According to the available information, 70 fighter-bombers are aboard the aircraft carrier. The total count of sailors, Marines and bomber pilots is 8,000
In this part of the Mediterranean, there are now a total of 17 warships assembled off the coast of Syria. – This reminds me of the song “we lay off of Madagascar and had the plague on board…” The allied forces also include a cruiser equipped with cruise missiles, 10 destroyers, and frigates. Four ships are armed with multi-purpose missile defense systems. With the arrival of the aircraft carrier, the total number of US troops has reached 10,000 aboard warships in the region. (Source) [See Global Research]
The Süddeutsche [Zeitung] reported on 12/6/12: “Nato leadership presses for military intervention in Syria”
One interesting passage, among others: “In difference to the USA or Rassmussen many European foreign ministers do not trust American secret service reports claiming that Syria may prepare for the use of chemical weapons. European secret services, including the German Bundesnachrichtendienst which is well networked in the Middle East, have “no perception” in that direction. Earlier Tuesday the Russian foreign minister Sergej Lavrow had warned his NATO colleges in Brussels to take reports on such weapons in Syria at face value. Russia had in recent years looked into into many such rumors and reports and many had proven to be false or half truths.” [English from Moon of Alabama]