By Adam Larson: Rebel Capabilities and the Damascus Chemical Attacks!
The Ghouta Gas Attack: Cui Bono, Who Benefits? Despite recent maneuvers to ease the danger, the world stands entirely too close to a disastrous conflict to remove the sovereign government of Syria, aka Bashar al-Assad. Like the campaign against Iraq, aka Saddam Hussein a decade ago, this Western-driven program is over WMD allegations. The charges of course are that "Assad" killed perhaps 1,300 of his citizens with Sarin gas, in several contested cities of the Ghouta region surrounding Damascus, on August 21. Hundreds of civilian victims, including dozens of children abd babies, were shown dead on videos, they were not shot or stabbed like usual for that medium, visually appearing to be killed by poison or perhaps suffocation. Activists describe the gas differently but agree it was delivered a series of pre-dawn rocket attacks from government-held areas. This was done, allegedly, to finally drive the rebels out of Ghouta, but it's not usually explained why that method and time were chosen. Because of this alleged crime, the increasingly harassed, demonized, and isolated nation is threatened with Cruise missiles and perhaps months or years of deadly force to follow. As if to make a point, whoever chose the time made it exactly one year after U.S. President Obama first promised that an event like this, even remotely like or hinting at this, would cross a "red line," which would force him and the U.S. military to respond somehow. Aug. 20, 2012 compared to around 2-3 AM Aug. 21, 2013: adjusted for time zones, that's one year and a few hours, the exact times are unsure. Oddly, this also came not three days after the elusive United Nations CW investigation team finally arrived in Damascus. They were first invited by the Syrian government in March after a rebel gas attack on their forces in Khan al-Assal, Aleppo, an incident we will return to, and so for the first time in the conflict, they were on hand to find and expose any signs of this alleged Sarin deployment the other way. The attacks in areas all around them would also, obviously, distract the team, who never did get to Aleppo as hoped. From this vantage point, it's not hard to see who stood to lose and to benefit from the chemical attack. Everyone can seethe government had to be stupid or suicidal to willingly do just that, just there, and at that time. Explanations bandied about include that it was a rogue officer issuing the insane order, or it was approved but someone miscalculated on a massive scale. An unnamed analyst said to Foreign Policy magazine's The Cable "we don't know exactly why it happened, we just know it was pretty fucking stupid" and, presuming imminent air strikes, "they get what they deserve." Conversely, it would be to the utmost benefit for the extremist rebel cause in Syria and the region to have "Assad" do, or be blamed for such a thing. As Russia's Foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich suggested, it might be a "pre-planned provocation" timed with the arrival of the UN team. Each breathtaking massacre of civilians over the years of this horrible conflict has been sold, by opposition "activists," as a reason to finally be given a Libya-style NATO Air Force. But Syria's air defenses remain and so the lobbying efforts continue, dead baby videos and all.