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From Consortium News
A review of events leading to the very edge of full-blown U.S. shock-and-awe on Syria three years ago provides a case study with important lessons for new policymakers as they begin to arrive in Washington.
It is high time to expose the whys and wherefores of the almost-successful attempt to mousetrap President Barack Obama into an open attack on Syria three years ago. Little-known and still less appreciated is the last-minute intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin as deus ex machina rescuing Obama from the corner into which he had let himself be painted.
Accumulating evidence offers persuasive proof that Syrian rebels supported by Turkish intelligence -- not Syrian Army troops -- bear responsibility for the infamous sarin nerve-gas attack killing hundreds of people on Aug. 21, 2013 in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus. The incident bears all the earmarks of a false-flag attack.
But U.S. and other "rebel-friendly" media outlets wasted no time in offering "compelling" evidence from "social media" -- which Secretary of State John Kerry described as an "extraordinary tool" -- to place the onus on the Syrian government.
However, as the war juggernaut started rolling toward war, enter Putin from stage right with an offer difficult for Obama to refuse -- guaranteed destruction of Syria's chemical weapons on a U.S. ship outfitted for such purpose. This cheated Washington's neocon mousetrap-setters out of their war on Syria. They would get back at Putin six months later by orchestrating an anti-Russian coup in Kiev.
But the play-by-play in U.S.-Russian relations in summer 2013 arguably surpasses in importance even the avoidance of an overt U.S. assault on Syria. Thus, it is important to appreciate the lessons drawn by Russian leaders from the entire experience.
Putting Cheese in the Mousetrap
So, let us recall that on Dec. 10, 2015, just over one year ago, Turkish Member of Parliament Eren Erdem testified about how Turkey's intelligence service helped deliver sarin precursors to rebels in Syria.
The Official Story blaming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was already collapsing -- largely discredited by reports in independent media and by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh -- though it remained widely accepted in the U.S. mainstream media which repeatedly cited the case as the moment when Assad crossed Obama's "red line" against using chemical weapons and Obama had failed to back up his threat.
But Erdem took the debunking of the "official" tale to a public and official level. Based on government documents from a Turkish court, which he waved before his MP colleagues, Erdem poured ice water on the West's long-running excited belief that Assad had "gassed his own people."
But, alas, if you do not understand Turkish, or if you missed this story in the Belfast Telegraph of Dec. 14 or if you don't read some independent Web sites or if you believe that RT publishes only Russian "propaganda," this development may still come as a huge surprise, for Erdem's revelations appeared in no other English-language newspaper.
So, those malnourished by "mainstream media" may be clueless about the scary reality that Obama came within inches of letting himself be mousetrapped into ordering U.S. armed forces to mount a shock-and-awe-type attack on Syria in late summer 2013.
Turkish MP Testimony
Addressing fellow members of the Turkish Parliament, Turkish MP Erdem from the opposition Republican People's Party directly confronted his government on this key issue. Waving a copy of "Criminal Case Number 2013/120," Erdem described official Turkish reports and electronic evidence documenting a smuggling operation with Turkish government complicity.