There is a predictable disconnect amid political followers who have not paid close attention to the direct Mid-East visitors to the Donald Trump White House regarding the origin of the chemical weapons use in Syria.
Focusing on who used chemical weapons is a moot point in the larger issue of the Syrian conflict. It doesn’t matter whether ISIS “rebels” deployed them or whether Bashir Assad used them against the “rebels” when contemplating President Trump’s response to stop using them. The victims are Syrians. The regional alliance members don’t care who used them. The message is to stop.
We could make a solid argument that either interested party: Bashir Assad or “the rebels” (al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Nusra et al) had motive and opportunity to use chemical weapons.
We’ve written for several years about the manipulative intentions of both sides, all sides, in the Syrian conflict. We’ve written about President Obama’s policies toward Syria and how his administration armed and equipped all elements; gaining nothing except a horrific death toll and chaotic civil war as an outcome.
We’ve provided lengthy and cited research on arms into Syria from Obama, Clinton and Kerry. The Benghazi Brief outlined Man-Pads and chemical weapons delivered to Syria as an outcome of the collapse within Libya. We’ve outlined the Libyan weapons caches that became the Jihadist market/yard-sale. We’ve also documented weapons deliveries directly from the State Department using actual recorded audio admissions of Secretary Kerry to his Syrian benefactors.
Additionally, no-one questions whether Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Assad’s BFF, delivered stock piles of his own chemical weapons to Syria, because it was well documented. Both Bashir Assad and Saddam Hussein previously used chemical weapons. Historically Hussein used Chemical Weapons to kill up to 300,000 Kurds in Northern Iraq.
None of this is in doubt.
To argue if Assad used chemical weapons again last week is really an irrelevant issue when you stop and think about Bashir Assad’s political position in 2017.
2012 “NO ISLAM WITHOUT JIHAD” – members of the Free Syrian Army. Abu Khuder and his men fight for al-Qaida. They call themselves the ghuraba’a, or “strangers”, after a famous jihadi poem celebrating Osama bin Laden’s time with his followers in the Afghan mountains, and they are one of a number of jihadi organisations establishing a foothold in the east of the country now that the conflict in Syria has stretched well into its second bloody year.
They try to hide their presence. “Some people are worried about carrying the [black] flags,” said Abu Khuder. “They fear America will come and fight us. So we fight in secret. Why give Bashar and the west a pretext?” But their existence is common knowledge in Mohassen. Even passers-by joke with the men about car bombs and IEDs.
Which brings us to one of the issues everyone in media overlook: Assad’s 2017 motive NOT TO remove ISIS with any excessive urgency.
Currently there are two sides in the six year Syrian civil war: Assad and “the rebels”.
If you take out ISIS (‘the rebels’), you are left with Assad – a terrorist state. If you take out Assad you are left with ISIS – a terrorist state. The regional goal is to eliminate extremism. Both sides of the current Syrian coin are extremist.
If the bank told you they were repossessing your home just as soon as you finished the kitchen remodel, how quickly would you work in remodeling the kitchen.
Similarly, by actions and deeds the international community, and the regional community, have essentially told Assad he must step down from power as soon as he eliminates ISIS. Do you see any grand motivation for Assad to remove ISIS in that equation? This is the basis for the quagmire. Syria is FUBAR.
Syria is FUBAR and ordinary Syrians are being destroyed between the pendulum. Syria is FUBAR and despite the Russian and Iranian propaganda to the contrary, Bashir Assad is a terrorist and a dictator. Bashir Assad is to 2017 Syria what 1980’s Kaddaffi was to Libya.
Take ISIS, al-Nusra and al-Qaeda out of the equation, which is almost impossible because those affiliates are people -tens of thousands of people- and you still have terrorist Bashir Assad and terrorist group Hezbollah and the terrorist network of the Muslim Brotherhood. Syria is FUBAR because it is full of violent extremists.
Don’t kid yourself into believing that Bashir Assad is some grand magnanimous figure just because he is currently killing Sunni extremists (ISIS). Take away the “extremists” from the equation and Assad kills Sunni moderates. Either way you look at Syria one extremist element ends up killing ordinary Syrians. Syria is FUBAR.
Why haven’t you heard of a central political figure in opposition to Assad?
Because he kills them all, and their families, and the friends of the families; and the villages of the friends and families of anyone who would threaten his regime. Assad protects Assad, and sometimes as an extension of his own self-preservation he protects others; but Assad is always protecting Assad first and foremost.
The Zoo’s Big Cat cages have been opened for more than seven years.
There’s no going back to the time of Zookeepers Hussein (Iraq), Bin Ali (Tunisia), Mubarak (Egypt), Kaddaffi (Libya) and Abdullah Salah (Yemen), being able to contain the rabid cats.
The congealed blood cannot be put back into the tube.
Similarly, it doesn’t matter who used the chemical weapons in Syria or where they came from, it’s all extremism. Can you fathom a scenario where Assad could ever be able to lead a united Syrian people?
Regardless of the Syrian outcome, regardless of Assad’s victory over “the rebels”, the congealed Syrian blood will not go back into the tube. He’s done; Assad has lost the majority of his own people.
The entire region understands this; Assad has no allies in proximity. Assad is the only Zookeeper remaining amid a land that has moved away from Zoo-keeping. It’s only Assad, Russia and Iran who are trying to deny the reality of the inevitable.
Assad is now the problem for the neighborhood.
This reality is why the 2017 exhausted Arab Coalition, and more importantly their majority populations, have called for changes in the views of western political leaders away from historic categories of factional segments (and elements of tribalism), and pleaded within Western voices to focus on “all extremism”.
“Extremism” in all it’s forms is now the focus of the region. Assad is viewed as part of the extremism. This is why it really doesn’t matter whether or not Assad carried out the chemical weapons attacks, or if the attack was a ‘false flag’ by “the rebels” to get rid of Assad.
President Trump launched a missile strike to send a message to all Syrians that use of chemical weapons will not be permitted. In the aftermath, Assad promised to fight ISIS harder.
Yeah, sure. And Assad’s motivated to do that because?….
Bashir Assad is an eight-track terrorist trying to convince the international community he’s a CD-player. No-one in the region accepts him any longer. The mid-east has moved forward; the world, except Assad’s Syria, is now digital.
Assad hides behind the secular guise of protecting minority Christians to project an useful optic to the West. Meanwhile, Jordan’s King Abdullah II provides refuge to more Syrian Christians amid a refugee population nearing 3 million.
A conveniently overlooked reality is there are more Syrian secular refugees currently protected by King Abdullah than exist in Syria. Why is that?
The true secular leaders providing minority religious protections both visited the White House at the same time as the chemical attack. It is not coincidental that both al-Sisi and King Abdullah were the first voices to rise in support of President Trump’s response.
Jordan’s King Abdullah was in Washington DC, during the exact timeline of President Trump considering a response. The direct and consequential subject matter expert on the entire Syrian conflict just happened to be in the Oval Office at the exact time the chemical attack took place.
Don’t you think President Trump was immediately given solid counsel by Abdullah on the reality of the landscape?
No-one in western media has been paying attention to, let alone assembling, all the dots from direct direct talks that have been taking place between President Trump and the Regional Partners.
The serious discussions have been done quietly and deliberately.
♦ A week later, President Trump spoke at length to Egypt’s Fattah al-Sisi about their efforts.
♦ At the beginning of February – King Abdullah III of Jordan traveled to Washington to meet with Vice-President Mike Pence and discuss aide and assistance for regional security. Previously, in November 2016, King Abdullah spoke to President-elect Trump
♦ A week later – Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Washington DC for a very warm and optimistic meeting with President Trump for talks on regional security.
♦ At the beginning of March – Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry visited Washington, met with members of Congress and held a long discussion with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson,
♦ Mid-March Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with an envoy from President Trump and told him that a peace deal is possible under the new president.
♦ Last Week (Monday) – Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi came to the White House for an official state visit, and a very warm greeting by President Trump.
♦ Last Week (Wednesday) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II follows al-Sisi with a visit to the White House and receives another very warm greeting by the U.S. President
Now pay attention to Secretary Tillerson:
Overall, the situation in Syria is one where our approach today and our policy today is, first, to defeat ISIS. By defeating ISIS we remove one of the disruptive elements in Syria that exists today.
That begins to clarify for us opposition forces and regime forces. In working with the coalition — as you know, there is a large coalition of international players and allies who are involved in the future resolution in Syria.
So it’s to defeat ISIS; it’s to begin to stabilize areas of Syria, stabilize areas in the south of Syria, stabilize areas around Raqqa through ceasefire agreements between the Syrian regime forces and opposition forces. Stabilize those areas; begin to restore some normalcy to them. Restore them to local governance — and there are local leaders who are ready to return, some who have left as refugees — they’re ready to return to govern these areas.
Use local forces that will be part of the liberation effort to develop the local security forces — law enforcement, police force. And then use other forces to create outer perimeters of security so that areas like Raqqa, areas in the south can begin to provide a secure environment so refugees can begin to go home and begin the rebuilding process.
In the midst of that, through the Geneva Process, we will start a political process to resolve Syria’s future in terms of its governance structure, and that ultimately, in our view, will lead to a resolution of Bashar al-Assad’s departure.
See the plan?
That is the “hope” this young man describes.