Tuesday, September 03, 2013
Syria is a puzzlement. Was there actually a military use of chemical weapons, specifically sarin gas, and was it the Syria government or one of the rebel groups that carried out the attack? I've just read an article about the intelligence reports. The article suggests that the unedited reports available to the writer do not definitely state that (1) sarin gas was used and (2) the Syrian government used it. The writer states that a UN team has been given unlimited access to the area of the attack by the Syrian government and suggests that we should wait for the UN team to make its report before going ahead with any retaliatory military action.
The article is persuasive to me. On the other hand, the writer may be a skillful advocate for the Assad Regime in Syria. At one point in the article, the writer states that the Obama administration is relying on an Israeli intelligence report for its assertion that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons. If that is so, we are again being misled into a civil war by a group that has a vested interest in getting us to intervene. The leaders of Israel are nervous. They aren't sure that the United States will use strong military force to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon. It is with difficulty that Obama persuades Netanyahu to trust us instead of staging his own air strike on Iran. The Assad Regime in Syria is an ally of Iran. Israel has more to fear from actual chemical weapons in Syria than from a presumed bomb in Iran. If Israel decides to attack the Assad Regime in Syria, the attack would likely start another general war in the region between Israel and its Arab neighbors. The United States would be drawn into that war. It is in our national interest to prevent Israel from starting a war, either with Syria or with Iran. That is the justification for slanting the intelligence reports to justify a punishing attack on the government of Syria.
In the case of Iraq in 2002, the justification for slanting an intelligence report to indicate that Saddam Hussein had a whole bunch of chemical weapons hidden at various places in his country was the desire to control the petroleum and put that control in the hands of American Oil firms. Oil was important. Is Israel equally important, or even more so than oil?