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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/29/13

"War On Chemical Weapons": Obama Traps Himself Into Syrian Combat

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Israeli intelligence has leaked to a Kuwaiti newspaper that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Benny Gantz handed over to his good pal US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey "documents and pictures" as evidence of the Syrian government's culpability. Arguably, this will be the core of the White House "revelation" this Thursday. 

The evidence points to rockets launched from a "Syrian army post near Damascus" -- which Finnish researcher Petri Krohn, currently conducting a meticulous investigation, conclusively placed as occupied by the "rebels" since June.  (scroll down to "Qaboun rocket launches")

Add to it the Defense Ministry in Baghdad, one month ago, dismantling an Al-Qaeda cell in Iraq that was planning to launch attacks in Iraq and "abroad," as in Syria, using chemical weapons

According to Iraqi national security advisor Faleh al-Fayyadh, Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria) would have free access to these chemicals. 

A Turkish fighter of the jihadist group Al-Nusra Front, bearing the flag of Al-Qaeda on his jacket (C-back), holds position with fellow comrades on April 4, 2013 in the Syrian village of Aziza, on the southern outskirts of Aleppo. (AFP Photo)
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A Turkish fighter of the jihadist group Al-Nusra Front, bearing the flag of Al-Qaeda on his jacket (C-back), holds position with fellow comrades on April 4, 2013 in the Syrian village of Aziza, on the southern outskirts of Aleppo. (AFP Photo)

So here we have all the elements of a sophisticated false flag operation. Jabhat al-Nusra jihadis, mostly mercenaries, connected to al-Qaeda in Iraq, but with no connection with Syrian civilians, including women and children, use an area formerly occupied by the Syrian army to launch a chemical attack -- perhaps using chlorine -- under the cover of a Syrian offensive (admitted by the government). The offensive was code-named "Operation City Shield." Damascus had solid intel about scores of "rebels" trained by the CIA and the Saudis in Jordan converging to the area and planning a massive attack on the capital. 

Then there is Saudi intel tsar Bandar bin Sultan, aka Bandar Bush's threat to President Putin in their notorious four-hour meeting earlier this month: The military solution is the only one left for Syria. Bandar, a master of the dark arts, is in charge of "winning" Syria to the House of Saud by all means available, chemical or otherwise.  

Any serious UN chemical weapons inspector would be following this lead as we speak. They might not -- because of US political pressure (as in "It's too late"). They might not because Washington wants the inspections over barely after they started -- as in a lightning quick remix, once again, of Iraq 2003; fixing the facts around the policy.   

Deconstructing Obama's game 

So we have to come back to the policy -- as in "we bomb because we want to." What exactly is Obama's game? 

Tel Aviv's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper, as I reported earlier, badly wants Washington to attack Syria's chemical weapons sites -- regardless of possible, horrible, "collateral damage," not to mention the possibility of al-Qaeda-linked jihadi outfits taking control of some of them. 

Israel's agenda is Syria bleeding in total chaos for the foreseeable future. Which is not the same as the House of Saud's agenda: regime change. Which is not the same as the Obama administration's agenda. At face value, it's regime change, but Plan B calls for "leveling the playing field," and that melts into the Israeli agenda.

As for President Obama, establishing a hazy "red line" with no context, just to appease clueless but influential neo-cons, not to mention the liberal hawks/humanitarian interventionists that surround him, and without regard for the consequences; this has to be construed as criminal irresponsibility.

Granted, Obama's IQ in theory would equip him to know that yet another war of choice in the Middle East is the last thing he needs. At the same time, when we look at his record, we know he doesn't have the balls to confront the awesome War Party Hydra -- also featuring the mini-coalition of the willing, ranging from nostalgic opportunists such as Britain and France to cold-blooded actors pursuing their specific agendas, like Israel and the House of Saud. 

And all this after Obama announced he would weaponize the "rebels" -- in fact that's been going on for ages, now fully supervised by Bandar Bush. The infinitely fractious rebel gangs have fractioned even further into sub-gangs of looters and assassins, with the more organized jihadis promising that after the Ghouta attack, they will kill any Alawite in sight. 

 A picture downloaded from the US air force website shows F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons (AFP Photo/US AIR FORCE)
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A picture downloaded from the US Air Force website shows F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 35th and 80th Fighter Squadrons (AFP Photo/US AIR FORCE)

Obama knows these are bit players; the only factor that can deliver another one of his red lines --"Assad must go" -- is a US military attack. Crucially, Assad also knows it; that's why the notion that Assad would sanction a chemical weapons attack is beyond ludicrous. 

So if we take the Obama administration at their word -- at our own peril -- they couldn't care less about who deployed chemical weapons. Yet at the same time they don't want regime change. They want a bombing to fulfill a "moral obligation," and to boost Washington's horrendously shattered "credibility."  American exceptionalists are even carping on "purity of intent" -- as if purity was inherent to cold-blooded, hardcore geopolitical power play. 

Both US and Israel assume they have perfect intel -- as in knowing exactly where all of Syria's chemical weapons are stored. Yet if anything could go wrong, it will. We all thought that the "war on terror"  could not be topped as a meaningless concept. Wrong: meet the "war on chemical weapons." 

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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