By Brent Allen Parrish
Where there is war, there is deception. And there is so much deception coming out of Syria right now, it is impossible for the average joe to make any real sense out of it. But one thing is for sure, it is all-out civil war. Well over 70,000 have been killed in the brutal and savage fighting that has engulfed Syria. More people have been killed in the past two years in Syria than have been killed in all the Arab-Israeli wars put together.
Now we’re hearing reports alleging the Assad regime has “crossed the red-line” and used chemical weapons east of Damascus. Claims by the Syrian rebels that the Syrian government used chemical weapons have not been independently verified or confirmed. Syrian rebels have made similar claims in the two-year-old civil, which have often turned out to be untrue or exaggerated.
The U.N. was attempting to get to the site where the alleged chemical attack occurred but immediately came under sniper fire from Syrian rebels.
“Members of the United Nations team… came under fire from armed terrorist groups as they entered the Moadamiyet al-Sham area” southwest of Damascus, state television reported, quoting a Syrian official on condition of anonymity.
It’s interesting the Syrian government granted access to the UN inspection team but Syrian rebels prevented the inspectors from examining the “crime scene.”
What sort of chemical agent was used in the purported attack? Some reports claim it was sarin gas.
Human Events reported:
The Syrian government characterizes this as an “attempt to divert the UN chemical weapons investigation commission from carrying out its duties,” according to the BBC, whose Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen says the videos he has seen “would be difficult to fake.” A somewhat more ambivalent analysis from a professor of microbiology quoted by the BBC concluded with a “best guess that this is an authentic video of the aftermath of an attack with some incapacitating chemical agent,” but probably not sarin gas or a similar weapon, as they would have left signs of visible blistering.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Vice President Joe Biden are declaring the reported chemical attack an open-and-shut case. But not all are in agreement. Some are insisting that it was Syrian rebels who were behind the attack, not the Syrian regime.
Washington Times reported:
Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof,” that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assadhad used the nerve agent.
Additionally, as I reported here at this blog earlier, the Turkish newspaper Zaman reported Turkish police seized 2 Kg of sarin nerve gas en route to Syria from al-Qaeda linked al-Nusra terrorists.
Ben Swann reported (emphasis mine):
According to CNN, one U.S. officials claims “There is nothing credible to indicate that the rebels, either the Syrian National Council or even al-Nusra Front, have used chemical weapons,” the official said. “Only the Assad regime is responsible for chemical weapons use.”
But that statement is false. When it comes to this latest incident, at this point we don’t know what kind of chemical might have been used. Nor do we know who used it. Some of the claims early on from “unnamed government sources” were that sarin gas was used in that Damascus suburb. The use of sarin gas would point toward the Assad regime, would it not?
Not necessarily. What our national media isn’t telling you is that in May Turkish security forces found a 2kg cylinder with sarin gas after searching the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda linked Al-Nusra Front. Where did the sarin gas come from? We don’t know. But clearly, Al Nusra Front has access to sarin gas and was planning a use for it.
President Obama and his administration keep talking about “the red line” that would have to be crossed in order to bring the United States into this conflict. That “red line” is consistently touted as responding to chemical weapons.
This is an amazing piece of intel, if true. It certainly should make anyone question whether the U.S. government really knows whether the Assad regime is guilty of engaging in chemical warfare or not. Yet the administration is claiming the proof is undeniable and irrefutable. Based on what evidence?
One of the things that really bothers me about the Syrian civil war is, what is the U.S. involvement in the conflict? We’ve heard heard rumors and allegations that arms were being run out of Benghazi to the Syrian rebels. If true, it means the Obama Administration has blood on its hands, and lots of it!
I actually wrote the rest of this article back in early June because it was appearing to me, at the time, the Obama Administration seemed to be steadily moving the U.S. toward military involvement in the Syrian civil war, as if unavoidable. But why?
President Obama’s desire to arm the FSA (Free Syrian Army) rebels–which is, for all intents and purposes, under the domination of al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda in Syria)–hardly seems like a wise strategy. The savagery occurring on both sides is astonishing and brutal beyond belief. One only needs to follow the Syria LiveLeak channel to see that. Both sides in the Syrian conflict accuse each other of the very crimes they are committing in an all-out effort to confuse and outwit each other, and the world-at-large.
The reason being giving for intervention by the United States in the Syrian civil war is the allegation Bashar al-Assad’s regime used chemical weapons against its own citizens. But Syria’s UN ambassador, Bashar al-Jaafari, alleged that the FSA spread the contents of plastic bags containing chemical material near the city of Idlib.
Currently there is really no indisputable proof that chemical weapons have been used on either side. Images of alleged Syrians with wounds that resemble tissue damage caused by chemical agents is not proof in and of itself. Each side right now is engaged in an all-out campaign of deception. Verifying reports of the use of chemical weapons is extremely difficult with no real sources of solid intelligence.
It is understandable that many look at the war in Syria and are horrified by what they see. I don’t think any decent person would not be. But Syrian society is an ancient one comprised of some 18 major sects—Sunni, Shiite, Alawite, Druze, Christians, Palestinians, Turkmen, Kurds, etc. Many of these groups find themselves fighting each other in mortal combat now.
Additionally, Arab fighters, Tunisians, Turkish Mujahideen, Salafists, Wahabists, Jordanians, Iraqis, and many others are pouring into Syria—further turning a volatile and fluid situation into an utter morass of chaos and violence. For example, Hezbollah has sided with the Assad regime, as has Iran. It’s hard to believe, really. Muslims killing Muslims, Islamists supporting secularists. But it’s occurring right now. And Assad’s forces are allegedly gaining the upper hand, at least for now.
So we now want to provide small arms to al-Nusrah Front? That’s where the weapons will end up, despite any so-called assurances by our government. And what will this achieve? It will only escalate and prolong the conflict, because the people clamoring for us to get involved in Syria have no real plan or strategy, or reason as to how arming the rebels will benefit our national security—quite the contrary. While the Obama Administration is working overtime to disarm U.S. citizens of their Second Amendment rights, they wish to rush pellmell into arming sworn enemies of the United States in Syria.
This is not to say there aren’t real national security concerns for the Unite States if the Syrian conflict spirals out of control into a giant regional conflict that starts to suck in other nations like Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey. But shouldn’t the United States maintain a strategy of containment as to opposed to direct involvement? At least for now? Direct involvement in Syria puts us in a proxy war with Russia, who steadfastly supports the Assad regime.
Obviously those who believe we should arm the FSA believe by doing so the monstrous Assad regime will be defeated and all will be well. But as is happening all over the Middle East, via the so-called Arab Spring, the power vacuums being created by all the occupy-style protests and “revolutions” are being filled by hardcore Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda.
Interestingly, Egypt’s president Mohammed Morsi broke off ties with Syria on the same day Barack Obama pledged the shipment of small arms to Syrian rebels.
As Sun Tzu said so long ago, “All war is based on deception.” Neither side wishes to let the other know what their strategy and intent truly is, for obvious reasons. Of course, each side in a conflict tries to ascertain, through various means, just what it is the other guy is up to. But the pursuit of gathering intelligence on your enemy during a time of war is a risky and messy business, fraught with many pitfalls and unforeseen dangers. Determining what is real (actionable intelligence) versus what is false (misdirection) is an exercise in sheer tenacity and unrelenting persistence.
But before we explore all this deception, and its inverse, coming out of Syria, let’s review how the situation deteriorated so quickly and where the Syrian civil war stands now.
So-called “popular demonstrations” began on March 15, 2011, in opposition to the Ba’ath Party government led by Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971. The demonstrators demanded the resignation of Assad and the protests grew nationwide by April 2011. These demonstrations were part of a wider Middle Eastern protest movement affectionately known as the Arab Spring.
When Bashar al-Assad succeeded his father, Hafez al-Assad, it was hoped by the West, at the time, that the son would be the kinder-gentler version of the Assad bloodline. But, as current events have borne out, Bashar al-Assad seems to have torn out a page from his father’s book by crushing any rebellion ruthlessly–like Hafez al-Assad did when he ordered the Syrian Army to shell the city of Hama in February 1982 to quell an Islamic movement that had been conducting terrorist attacks against Syrian forces. The city of Hama was considered a “stronghold of landed conservatism and of the Muslim Brothers.” Subsequent estimates of casualties vary from 7,000 to 40,000 people killed.
From some reports I’ve read, it was Bashar’s mother that encouraged her son to take a merciless approach against the growing unrest. If true, it certainly would not surprise me, considering how Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad, dealt ruthlessly with any Islamic insurrections against his presidency and the ruling Ba’ath Party.
Assad’s forces wasted no time in cracking down on demonstrators by any means necessary. Assad snipers shot and killed demonstrators. Civilian targets were shelled, bombed and rocketed by Syrian forces. Within a very short time, an insurgency was formed against the Syrian Assad Army (SAA), culminating in what is now referred to as the Free Syrian Army (FSA), or rebels.
Early on, when fighting started to break out between the SAA and the FSA, the Syrian Army was being dealt some significant blows by the rag-tag FSA rebels, surprising some. The SAA did not appear ready militarily to deal with a de facto insurgency. But, as of late, the appears to be changing and rebel forces are starting to experience their own significant losses:
Rob Miller writes:
The problem was that Assad was starting to win this war and the tides were shifting against the rebels.
Assad’s forces were gradually pushing them back and retaking territory the rebels controlled. And the recapture of Oteibeh, the chief depot for arms coming in from Jordan for the rebels by Assad’s forces a few days ago, was a major strategic loss.
Meanwhile, Assad’s allies, Hezbollah and Iran were pouring in fresh troops and arms to bolster the regime. The rebels have been unable to take Damascus or Aleppo and the attrition of their fighters was starting to tell. At worst, Assad had achieved a stalemate and appeared to be turning the tide…until now.
The strikes on Syria not only took out a shipment of Hezbollah-bound advanced Iranian missiles, but were also directed at Syria’s chemical weapons facility in Jamraya..which coincidentally just happens to contain numerous Syrian military bases, including the headquarters of Assad’s elite Fourth Infantry Division, commanded by his brother Maher, as well as al-Hamah, where the command of the Republican Guard, one of the government’s elite forces, is located.
New reports from my sources indicate that the Syrians suffered heavy military casualties:
The phenomena of the so-called Arab Spring that swept through Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and many other locations in the Middle East, has provided fertile ground for Islamic supremacist movements, like al-Qaeda et al., to gain a foothold throughout the Levant.
Which takes me back to a bit of a controversy … one, I just can’t help but revisit. It has to do with a comment made by Barack Obama a few years back at a campaign event in Beaverton, Oregon: Obama claimed to have visited “57 states.”
Naturally, most laughed this off as just a simple gaffe by the president. Obama had been traveling the country at the time campaigning and was simply tired, so they say. Dan Quayle had his “potatoe”; now Obama had his “57 states.” Just an honest mistake, right?
Or are those willing to dismiss the comment as nothing more than a slip-of-the-tongue engaging in a bit of histrionics? Some have speculated Obama’s “57 states” comment was a classic Freudian slip, since there are supposedly 57 Islamic states worldwide. Of course, the left went apoplectic upon hearing that some were implying Obama was, in fact, referring to Islamic states.
The left-leaning “fact-checking” site Snopes.com was quick to try and quell any notion that Obama’s “57 states” gaffe might have been an unintentional reference to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which comprises 57 Islamic states, although Snopes alleges the OIC really comprises 60 countries—57 member states and 3 observer states. Semantics aside, the OIC comprises 57 member states. Interestingly, the Obama Administration has enjoyed a rather cozy relationship with the OIC.
But, at the end of the day, can anyone actually prove Obama’s gaffe was really a Freudian slip referring to the OIC? No. I doubt one can, nor is it my intent. The reason I bring it all up is due to what I’m seeing in Syria and what sparked the whole internal conflict in the first place—the so-called “democracy movements”—the Arab Spring.
When I reminisce back to the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protests of October 2011, I’m struck by the words of one of the OWS organizers of the protests.
In the video above a woman identifying herself as Laura Flanders, Free Speech TV, interviews spokesperson Nelini Stamp of the Working Families Party at the Wall Street “occupation” in NYC. According to the video, “The Working Families Party was established by members of the socialist organization The New Party, ACORN, SEIU and a coalition of other labor unions and community organizations.”
Nelini Stamp claims so-called “democracy movements,” like Occupy Wall Street, are designed to bring about “revolutionary change to the streets of the United States.” At around the 4 min. mark in the video above, Ms. Stamp claims there were around 30 Occupy protests occurring in the U.S. at the time, and 57 “occupation movements” occurring around the world, presumably in the 57 Islamic states—the Arab Spring.
So, once again, that number ’57′ comes up again. No, I can’t say for sure that Obama’s “57 states” gaffe was anything but a slip-of-the-tongue. But I sure do find the all the coincidences interesting, to say the least.
More importantly, what has been the result of all this Marxist-style agitation (“democracy movements”) going on around the globe under the guise of the Arab Spring? Is it not clearing the way for Islamic supremacist groups like al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, al-Nusrah Front and the Muslim Brotherhood to snatch the reins of power in the Middle East in the hopes of reuniting the Islamic Caliphate (The United States of Islam)?
It is not to say that regimes like Mubarrak’s of Egypt or Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime are not guilty of their own monstrous crimes against humanity. But is the alternative of having hardline Islamic governments come to power in places like Syria, Egypt and elsewhere bode an ominous threat to the security of the region and the Western world-at-large? Isn’t that a no-brainer?
One huge frustration of mine has been the use of our military post-WWII. For example, I’m still furious about Vietnam … 15 years of war, sixty thousand Americans killed–and for what? What was the ultimate goal? What was the strategy? The ancient military philosopher Sun Tzu warned long ago that no nation benefits from a protracted conflict. But despite this wise admonition, the U.S. has consistently become embroiled in long, drawn-out struggles–like Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
It appears to me that the United States has no strategy, period. Which reminds me of another Sun Tzu quote:
According to Sun Tzu, it is better to have sub-standard tactics and a solid strategy than no strategy and great tactics. A policy of “no strategy” guarantees defeat.
The United States has the best-trained military in the world. When it comes to tactical superiority, no one does it better than the U.S. military. But when it comes to strategy, the U.S. falls flat on its face. This is no fault of our military; it is the fault of our civilian leadership; it is their job to develop a sound strategy. Strategy dictates what needs to be done at the operational and tactical levels.
Just ask the president and our congressional leaders what the strategy is in Syria–or in any other conflict, for that matter. I guarantee you they don’t have one. If they do, they’re not letting us know what it is. No, instead our leaders are basing strategy on emotion, not facts and logic. Emotion seems to trump logic these days. But emotion is not a strategy; it’s the noise before defeat.