Trump plays Nostradamus with wild Syrian chemical weapon prediction
Robert Bridge is an American writer and journalist. He is the author of 'Midnight in the American Empire,' How Corporations and Their Political Servants are Destroying the American Dream. @Robert_Bridge
For those who have been following the white-knuckle ride known as the Syrian War, the turns just got more wicked and unpredictable following a statement from White House spokesperson Sean Spicer, whose utterance falls somewhere between 'unforgivably irresponsible' and 'willfully diabolical.' I'm leaning towards the latter.
Fasten your seat belts, it's all downhill from here.
"The United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children," Spicer said. "If ... Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price."
One would sincerely hope and expect that such a grievous accusation leveled against the Syrian government would warrant at least some tantalizing scraps of physical evidence. Maybe some high-resolution satellite imagery, for example, which has cost the US taxpayer billions of dollars to research and develop? Apparently that would be asking for too much. No need to feel slighted, however, because it seems even the omnipotent Pentagon was left fumbling in the dark.
One official at US Central Command, the agency that oversees military operations in the Middle East, admitted to the New York Times that he had "no idea" what the administration was talking about.
In any event, although the White House statement may have sounded like an incriminating accusation against Assad, for the rebels and 'moderate' mercenary forces now attempting to depose him, Spicer's words resonated loud and clear like an open invitation, or a direct order, for inciting some serious mischief.
After all, the Trump administration - despite what the likes of CNN and MSNBC would have us believe - is not totally incompetent. They certainly understand that it would be mere child's play for al-Qaeda and company to get their dirty hands on chemical weapons, especially if it means getting the US superpower fully on board.
We already saw such a scenario played out in April when the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib was allegedly hit by a chemical attack. Naturally, Washington, the great conspiracy theorist, immediately pointed the finger at Assad. However, it was the rebels, not the Syrian leader, who had everything to gain from such a ruthless attack (The latest OPCW report on the Idlib chemical incident lacks sufficient evidence and is based on data provided predominantly by one side of the Syrian conflict without necessary verification, the Russian OPCW representative, Aleksandr Shulgin, told RT. Meanwhile, a report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in Die Welt asserts that "Trump issued the order [to attack the Syrian airbase] despite having been warned by the U.S. intelligence community that it had found no evidence that the Syrians had used a chemical weapon.").
Russian President Putin slammed the chemical attack as a "provocation" and a "false flag" event, designed to undermine the Syrian government.
Damascus, noting that Islamic State and al-Nusrah were occupying the region at the time, and most likely staged the event, vehemently rejected the trumped up charges. Washington, however, refused to give the benefit of the doubt to the democratically elected leader of Syria, opting to place wild faith in known thugs and terrorists. Some would call that strange, until they recall the fate of other violated nations, like Iraq and Libya.
The US didn't wait around for an investigation and the forensics, because that would make the whole venture transparent and legitimate, and we can't have any of that. Again, strange, especially from the one country that is forever lecturing the world about such values. Instead, Donald Trump, ignoring his campaign chatter about cooperating with the Russians, opted to fire off 59 cruise missiles at Syria's Shayrat Air Base, thereby dealing a blow to the very forces fighting against ISIS, while getting his first good press from a clinically deranged Liberal media.
It flies in the face of logic and common sense to suggest that Assad - who presently has the upper hand against the rebels, as well as ISIS - would obliterate his hard-fought achievements by resorting to chemical weapons. After all, Syria is not a primitive country; it has its share of modern military equipment. There is absolutely no need to go chemical here. Moreover, Bashar Assad - a doctor with far more brains than your average Western leader - can certainly appreciate the fact that Russia would immediately abandon his cause if the Syrian Army resorted to such detestable methods.
Setting up 'the perfect crime'
Any honest and impartial look at the Syrian situation shows that it is far more likely for the rebels and their 'moderate' supporters to resort to chemical weapons, and certainly more so after the Trump administration's latest utterance. However, the mere mention of such a glaringly obvious possibility only draws smirks and derision from US officials.
Heather Nauert, US State Department spokesperson, brushed aside from her power podium the obvious contradictions, relying instead on unsubstantiated claims peppered with nothing more than raw, emotional imagery.
"Are we supposed to buy what the Syrians are saying, that there are no chemical weapons preparations underway...because in the past, we know that they have killed their own people, which include women and children. So if they say that they're not making any preparation, I'm not sure that we're going to buy that."
Meanwhile, not to be outdone in this American theater of the absurd, US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, must have been half awake when she tweeted: "Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his won people."
Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) June 27, 2017
The mind-numbing arrogance and stupidity of that comment, which predicts in advance the identity of a murderer before any crime has been committed, opens the door to any number of ugly scenarios, the worst being that the real culprit (the terrorists) will use superpower cover as a convenient means for pulling off the 'perfect crime.' For US officials to feign disbelief and incredulity over such a prospect would be laughable if the situation was not so overloaded with world-shattering implications.
Finally, it is equally distressing to see so many Western nations throwing their unquestionable support behind such an outrageously dangerous US position. It is somewhat understandable to see how Americans - trapped as they are in a hermetically sealed media echo chamber between two oceans - could fall for this nonsense, but aren't Europeans supposed to be somewhat more worldly - dare I say intelligent - about such delicate matters?
Judging by the reaction of the French and English to Trump's pronouncement, apparently not. Newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, who just the other day was warning about the inherent dangers of imposing regime-change operations on unsuspecting patients, got back in line when he obediently told Trump in a phone call Tuesday that he agreed on the need for a "joint response" in the event of another chemical attack in Syria.
'Yessir, sorry sir!' you can almost hear the fledgling French leader exclaim.
Meanwhile, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon, a man who seems to require very little baiting to join the first jolly little war that comes along, enthusiastically threw his support behind Trump's ill-conceived plan, without questioning the implications of the statement.
“If the Americans take similar action again, I want to be clear, we will support it," Fallon said.
Meanwhile, it's not all gloom and doom; there is some glitter of hope out there in the wilderness. Britain’s Stop the War Coalition (StWC) warned that “Trump is planning a further escalation of his wars in the Middle East.”
In a statement released this week, the anti-war group said Fallon “recklessly committing” to support Trump's initiative should is dangerous because "We do not know what evidence he has, and it is clear that at least some US military sources are skeptical of his claims.
Finally, there is the possibility that Trump's attempt at prediction is all bluster - albeit very dangerous and reckless bluster - in the run up to the G20 Summit in Germany next week (July 7-8), in which both Putin and Trump will be in attendance (Personally, I can't wait to see that first handshake between the Russian and American leaders, which might just jolt the world right out of alignment).
It seems the US leader, sensitive as he is to appearing weak, which is perhaps understandable considering how unfairly the Liberal media treats him, may be attempting to bolster his image and hand before this major meeting of industrial powers.
Whatever the case may be, what is more likely to result from this chemical weapons prediction is the total breakdown of stability in Syria, which will have severe repercussions for peace not only in the region, but around the world.
It would be difficult to cite a more irresponsible move on the geopolitical chessboard than encouraging terrorists to use chemical weapons, which, however they may like to argue otherwise, is precisely what the Trump administration has done by playing Nostradamus.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.