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The Subterfuge of Syrian Chemical Weapons

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Obama, the former professor of constitutional law, who as recently as August 22 warned in a CNN interview that " we have to take into account considerations" like a "U.N. mandate" supported by "international law" and "clear evidence," seems ready now to strike without any respect to the three factors, which they only can give legitimacy to any U.S. -- led strike against Syria.

The UN mandate and legitimacy cannot be provided by a decision taken by the NATO, which is led by the U.S. A selective "responsibility to protect" pretext for a unilateral U.S. - led intervention militarily cannot replace the UN charter and international law. A fig leaf political approval of an attack on Syria from the Arab League, which is now no more than a U.S. rubber stamp, cannot provide Obama with any credible "Arab" justification for a war on Syria; similar approvals in Libya and Iraq were counterproductive examples. Obama cannot draw on artificial legitimacy to justify what will be no more than a flagrant violation of international law and UN charter to cover up what will be merely a bare -- to- all - to - see aggression.

Moreover, Obama seems even ready to bypass a U.S. constitutional obligation to consult with and get the consent of the Congress, now in a month -- long recess until September 9.

According to the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday, Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.) has collected nearly three dozen signatures of House members to a letter he intended to send to the White House to remind the president that military action without a congressional vote "would violate the separation of powers that is clearly delineated in the Constitution."

Obama told CNN: " Sometimes what we've seen is that folks will call for immediate action, jumping into stuff that does not turn out well, gets us mired in very difficult situations."

Writing in the Los Angeles Times on August 27, Kathleen Hennessey, Michael A. Memoli and Christi Parsons said that the poison gas attack in the suburbs of the Syrian capital on August 21 was "testing" Obama's views " as no previous crisis has done;" unfortunately Kerry announced Monday that the U.S. president has failed this test.

However, Kerry's statement in his news conference in Washington Monday, which was described by mainstream media as "emotional" and "highly charged," sounded like an official declaration that Obama had done with whatever "considerations" might prevent him from taking a decision to strike, even if he risks to get "mired in" exactly the "very difficult situations" he has been trying to avoid.

It was a declaration that Obama has at last given in to the warmongers who have been leading a media blitz that has been beating the drums of war on Syria for two and a half years now; Kerry only added "chemical fuel" to it.

Kerry Mobilizes Passive Public

On the one hand, Kerry's statement was emotionally highly charged with the intention of defusing a mounting pressure for action that was exacerbated with the reported chemical attack in the suburbs of Damascus.

On the other, its emotionality was intended as a prelude to mobilize a passive public opinion for a possible imminent military action against Syria.

Several recent polls showed that the majority of Americans oppose U.S. involvement in the Syrian conflict, let alone militarily. In this week's Reuters/Ipsos survey, only 25 percent of Americans said they would support U.S. intervention if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemicals to attack civilians, while 46 percent would oppose it. About 60 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should not intervene in Syria's civil war, while just 9 percent thought Obama should act. A Pew Research Center poll taken June 12-16 found 70 percent of Americans opposed Obama's decision to provide arms to Syrian rebels in response to smaller-scale chemical weapons attacks there; 68 percent said the U.S. military is "too over-committed" to get involved in the Syrian conflict.

If Kerry's intention was to mount pressure on Syria, the country's foreign minister Walid al-Muallem on Tuesday declared Syria will not yield to "blackmail" and its only option is to defend itself with whatever means are available, some of which will be a "surprise," he said.

However, Kerry's statement sounded not a message to Syria per se as much as it was a message to American, European and Arab warmongers, who ever since the Syrian crisis erupted have been lobbying his administration to take action against Syria long before the first chemical attack was launched from the positions of the U.S. -- sponsored armed gangs on Khan al_A'ssal five months ago.

Investigating a Forgone Conclusion

In view of the Syrian government's confirmation of the use of chemical weapons, Kerry's statement on Monday that it "is real, that chemical weapons were used in Syria," and the confirmation of their use by the Syrian so called "opposition" and its western and Arab sponsors, their use is already a forgone conclusion.

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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