Western Intervention in Syria's Already Started

Interventionists want a harder sort


damascus 2013

It took Chuck Hagel 24 hours to reverse himself and agree with an Israeli intelligence assessment that indicated Syria had used chemical weapons against rebels in the two-year civil war in that country. U.S. intelligence, he said, had "some degree of varying confidence" that Syria used chemical weapons on a "small scale." Not exactly the aluminum tubes and empty chemical warheads of the phantom WMD stockpile used to justify the invasion of Iraq ten years ago. Syria denies the claim and accuses Syrian rebels of using chemical weapons instead.

Nevertheless, chemical weapons constitute the red line Barack Obama and many Western leaders drew on intervention in Syria. John McCain and Dianne Feinstein are leading a bipartisan push for a "strong" intervention as a response to the chemical weapons allegations, echoing the call of the Western-backed rebel faction in Syria.

A "soft" intervention in Syria by the West's long started, evidenced by the existence of a Western-backed rebel faction in Syria itself. Earlier this week, the European Union eased sanctions on Syria to permit the purchase of oil from rebels. The Socialist president in France, fresh off an ongoing military intervention in Mali, is leading the push in Europe to arm Syria's rebels, and says his country will do so. The British government, itching too to provide more support to rebel groups in Syria, is nevertheless worried British nationals are joining extremists in the fight in Syria. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has joined too, which led to the CIA stepping up its role in Iraqi counterterrorism last month. Last week, the U.S. announced an additional $110 million in aid to Syria's rebels (on top of at least $60 million pledged in February and $45 million last September, plus covert aid authorized sometime last summer).

The U.S. is also deploying troops to Jordan (price tag: $70 million) and has sent military advisors to the country in relation to the rebellion in Syria. Embattled Syrian officials warn increased American intervention and support for the rebels (which the regime identifies as terrorists) will lead to a "fire of terrorism" spreading around the world. 

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  1. Frankly, I wouldn’t put anything past various factions of the rebels, or even of their GCC sponsors.

    1. *shrug*

      Dancing with Mephistopheles because you don’t like Lucifer is stupid. Stay home instead.

    2. Has anybody explained the tactical purpose of using chemical weapons on a limited basis?

      Sadaam used them to take out entire villages of troublesome Kurds when he knew the rest of the world wouldn’t make much fuss. Chemical weapons seems like a low cost option in that case.

      But what’s the upside for Assad? The allegations suggest that several individuals were gassed, not an entire village. Certainly it would be easier to shoot them, shell them, or bomb them.

      1. There was a guy on NPR a few days ago who said that something closer to tear gas or pepper spray could conceivably kill someone in high concentrations and in close quarters, and the evidence would look about the same as if they’d been gassed with sarin.

  2. So you’re saying Obama is about to get his long-overdue second Peace Prize?

    1. Yes, how is it he hasn’t won again?

      1. He hasn’t been giving enough speeches.

        1. He hasn’t been “Hopey” enough lately.

          1. Seriously, the committee should retain the option to unaward the prize.

            1. I’d settle for a ritual apology from the committee.

              Japanese ritual, that is.

              1. If Obama would’ve followed my advice, he’d have given it to a much more deserving recipient.

                1. I was hoping it’d be the nuke the moon proposal.

                  1. That’s for ending our problems in the Middle East.

                    1. Isn’t that what the Peace Prize was for?

                    2. Was it? I thought that was for conquering America.

                    3. Murika doesn’t get conquered. It liberates itself.

                    4. Come on, racist America electing a black man?

                    5. He’s only mostly black. There’s a big difference between mostly black and all black. Mostly black is slightly white. With all black, well… with all black there’s usually only one thing you can do.

  3. “U.S. intelleginece”

    Is that when the CIA has too much Bombay Sapphire?

    1. Oh sure, corrected with no acknowledgement….grumble.

  4. Just WTF does “some degree of varying confidence” mean?

    (Other than “We’re making this shit up as we go along”.)

    1. Absolutely nothing.

  5. “Nevertheless, chemical weapons constitute the red line Barack Obama and many Western leaders drew on intervention in Syria.”

    I’m not entirely opposed to helping the rebels in Syria, but whether we should or shouldn’t has nothing to do with whether the Assad regime used chemical weapons.

    …Just like whether we should have invaded Iraq shouldn’t have hinged on whether they had WMD.

  6. Eddie, your unlawful deployment of contraction apostrophes is a weapon of mass destruction on grammar. I suggest you stop lest you face the ultimate penalty of a strongly worded letter from the UN secretary of language.

  7. U.S. intelleginece, he said, had “some degree of varying confidence” that Syria used chemical weapons on a “small scale.”

    Well, good, let’s go to war over that * solid * “varying” evidence.

  8. Who knew that Chuck Bagel would get buttered up so easily.

  9. Here’s the option I keep thinking of: The NSA figures out where Assad and the other top leaders are. Some hours after a flight of B-2s takes off from Missouri, a series of large explosions kill Assad and company. Gee, they must have had some sort of ammo dump accident in their bunker.

    1. Step 2, Militant Islamists take over much of Syria including their chemical weapons

      Step 3 Militant Islamists pass those chemical weapons to their friends around world.

      Step 4 A pressure cooker loaded with chemical weapons rather then fireworks goes off in some US city.

      Step 5. Marshal law declared.

      1. And the current situation prevents your scenario?

        1. And your idea does not speed it up by greatly weakening the ones who control the chemical weapons?

          1. Not necessarily. I think the longer this drags on, the more powerful the jihadi factions become relative to the non-jihadi factions, so offing Assad sooner rather than later might improve the odds of the new government being non-jihadi.

  10. And once again, almost uniquely, the UK manages to send ‘freedom fighters’/jihadists and the dome-headed Yorkshire prat Hague wants to send them weapons to fight with. It’s gone far beyond parody…

  11. Lets parachute Chuck Hagel into Syria armed with an M-16 and a Bowie knife and he can look for the WMD’s. After all if its important enough to risk going to war its important enough to risk one Defense Secretary. Its not like we don’t have plenty of people wanting the job.

  12. Western Intervention in Syria’s Already Started

    What the fuck is an ‘Already Started‘ and why does Syria own one?

  13. RE: “Not exactly the aluminum tubes and empty chemical warheads of the phantom WMD stockpile used to justify the invasion of Iraq ten years ago.”

    The WikiLeaks information, and other sources, revealed that WMD were, in fact, in Iraq. The reports are discounted because however many chemical rounds were uncovered, it never met the high threshold required by some. Of the many reports, this one is particularly interesting: “Based on location, these rounds may be an AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] cache. However, the rounds were all total disrepair and did not appear to have been moved for a long time.” So Al Qaeda in Iraq wasn’t just getting lessons in how to make WMD from Saddam’s security forces, they had their own caches?

    There are numerous reports that Saddam moved a lot of his WMD to his Ba’ath Party allies in Syria before the war. I am anxious to see if the sarin gas that Syrian government used was actually VX gas created in Iraq or created by the formula preferred by the Iraqis.

    I would also remind everyone that WMD was not the actual justification for war. The Senate debated that Saddam would not allow weapons inspections.

    For the record: I do not propose that the US engage the Syrians over this or any other issue. The US, and the Obama Administration in particular, are far too weak to do anything about the situation. We can hardly blame the Syrians for calling our bluff.

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