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27 Aug, 2013 13:21

Silence of the lambs: Where is the other side of the Syrian story?

Silence of the lambs: Where is the other side of the Syrian story?

The US argues the Syrian government is resorting to extreme tactics – including the use of chemical weapons – in its years-long struggle against rebel militants. In reality, however, it is US and EU that are ratcheting up the tension level.

Just a decade after beginning a military campaign against Iraq on the basis of bad intelligence that said Saddam Hussein was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, Washington and its NATO lackeys look poised to commit yet another devastating blunder, this time in Syria.

Following last week’s alleged chemical attack in southern Damascus that left scores of people dead, Western leaders, unashamedly supported by a psychotic, sycophantic media machine, accused the government of Syrian President Assad for carrying out the attack without a shred of evidence to support their claims.

France said all indications show that Syrian army troops are responsible for what it called a "chemical massacre".

"All the information at our disposal converges to indicate that there was a chemical massacre near Damascus and that the Assad regime is responsible," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, who should be relieved of his official duties at once, said on Saturday.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has suggested that "the Assad regime has something to hide."

Once again, Russia and a number of other countries are simply asking to be shown proof that the Syrian government is responsible for the alleged savagery. However, the burden of proof never seems to rest with NATO (The military assaults on Belgrade and Baghdad, not to mention South Ossetia, occurred with the least amount of unbiased media scrutiny).

“Washington, London and Paris say they have incontrovertible evidence that the Syrian government is behind the chemical attack in Damascus, but they have not yet presented this evidence,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during an emergency press conference in Moscow on Tuesday. “Yet, they keep saying that the ‘red line’ has been crossed.”

Since we are talking about nothing less than the possibility of a world war erupting in the Middle East over the chemical weapons claims, it would seem incumbent upon the accusers that they have nothing less than 101 percent, iron-clad evidence before they start barking up the wrong tree. Sadly, tragically, inexplicably, that has not been the case.

A handout picture released by the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on August 24, 2013 shows bags and containers of what the Syrian government claims to be materials used to make chemical weapons discovered in Jobar on the outskirts of the capital Damascus. (AFP Photo)

Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s past warning that Washington would not stand by idly in the event the chemical “red-line” was crossed was what most likely triggered last week’s chemical attack in the first place. The ‘red-line’ comment was utterly irresponsible and certainly gave the militant opposition, who were suffering significant setbacks against government forces, a golden opportunity to bring NATO forces over to their cause.

Yet the Western mainstream media, which has obviously learned nothing from their past cheerleading on behalf of Team USA prior to the Iraq debacle, is now - as if war in an age of nuclear weapons no longer warrants sober-minded reflection - sounding the bugle charge against a sovereign state before the United Nations provides the world with its official report.

This headlong rush to war against President Assad – underwritten as it is by terrorists, statesmen and journalists alike - is all the more incredible when even a child may comprehend that the rebels had much more to gain from a chemical weapons being used in Syria than did the forces loyal to Assad.

“Was it really in the interests of the Syrian government to use chemical weapons right when the [UN] inspectors are working there?” Lavrov rightly asked.

A UN inspector (C) listening to the testimony of a man in the Damascus suburb of Moadamiyet al-Sham. (AFP Photo)

And judging by the barbarous behavior of the rebels, which includes the videotaped desecration of victims’ bodies belonging to government forces, the possibility that they - or foreign groups sympathetic to their chaotic cause - orchestrated the chemical attack and blamed it on the Syrian government should not be casually discarded.

The Russian minister went on to emphasize a salient point that was conspicuously overlooked in Iraq: It is paramount for the global community to wait for the United Nations to establish the real perpetrators of the attack.

Yet the United States continues to behave as if it owns the moral high ground in the matter. However, Barack Obama must certainly be aware that he is facing a dramatically different domestic climate for military operations than did his hawkish predecessor, George W. Bush.

Just before the opening of hostilities against Saddam Hussein in March 2003, the warmongering Neo-con administration brazenly ignored fierce global opposition to war in Iraq, not to mention UN weapons inspectors on the ground in Iraq searching under every rock for WMDs (that the Bush clan put war on the fast track in Iraq came as little surprise since the teams were finding nothing to incriminate the Baathist regime).

The American people have clearly lost their appetite for any additional foreign entanglements as the economy is in a shambles (for the 99 percent, anyway) and many people have not forgotten the ugly deception behind the Iraq war. Indeed, Obama may discover that the real ‘red-line,’ as far as his administration is concerned, is the opening of another war front. After all, the US military is already stretched to breaking point, while NATO allies will certainly face a hostile populace in the event of another military adventure.

Presently, a team of UN investigators is examining the attack in Syria on the ground, though their mandate is limited to confirming that the attack took place, not establishing who was behind it. Foreign leaders and media alike should find the courage to display less biased opinion as to who was really behind the attack, otherwise the world may be heading for a very dark place.

Judging by recent events, however, it looks as if the US and its fawning NATO partners are less interested in determining the truth in Syria than they are in opening yet more regional hostilities at a time when the world can least afford it.

The US government announced it was postponing bilateral talks with Russia late Monday, citing “ongoing consultations” over the Syrian government’s alleged use of chemical weapons.

Deputy Russian Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov tweeted a response to the announcement Tuesday morning, expressing concern over Washington’s decision.

“It is a pity that our western partners have decided to cancel the bilateral US-Russian meeting to discuss calls for an international conference on Syria,” Gatilov wrote.

If the US and NATO really do ignore, once again, the opinion of the global community on a matter of such consequences, then it must be assumed that the move has far greater implications than ‘simply’ war in Syria. It would seem to indicate that the United States, together with Israel and NATO, want nothing less than to neutralize Damascus for its next bold step in the region, and that, I believe, is a military showdown with Iran.

Thus, the people of the Western nations had better use this opportunity to speak out against the pathetic actions of their leaders in regards to Syria. They may not get a second chance.

Robert Bridge, RT

Bridge is the author of the book, Midnight in the American Empire, which examines the dangerous consequences of extreme corporate power in the United States.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.