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No Proof on Chemical Attack but Obama Orders Preparations to Attack Syria


August 24, 2013
Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com

There's still no real proof, but Western officials say they have "little or no doubt" that Wednesday's Ghouta incident was a chemical weapons attack. Even though the UN investigators said the previous attack was almost certainly launched by the rebels, Western officials continue to present that as the Assad government is also culpable. Though President Obama insists was "no rush" to attack Syria, he has privately ordered the military to draw up options for an attack.

http://news.antiwar.com/2013/08/23/no-proof-but-western-officials-convinced-of-syria-chemical-attack/

No Proof, But Western Officials Convinced of Syria 'Chemical Attack'
Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com

(August 23, 2013) -- There's still no real proof and UN inspectors haven't even gotten to the site, but Western officials say they have "little or no doubt" that Wednesday's Ghouta incident was a chemical weapons attack.

They're not only willing to buy the rebels' version of events, they went a step further and say that the attack "likely" had direct approval from top officials in the Assad government.

The Obama Administration is calling for a "full investigation" by UN investigators, and the Syrian National Coalition (SNC), one of the rebel factions, agreed to "guarantee the safety" of investigators.

Other rebels say they're trying to smuggle evidence to the UN, but they're already downplaying the prospect of it amounting to anything, saying they haven't got much equipment and are constantly fighting the Syrian government so their evidence could be "damaged" en route.

With Turkey and France already calling for war without the proof and most of the decision-makers already convinced, there's little reason to think that anyone's minds will be changed even if the investigation fails to turn up what they'd hoped for.

After all, even though the UN investigators said the previous attack was almost certainly launched by the rebels, Western officials continue to present that as the Assad government's doing as well.



Obama Maintains Pretense of Opposing Syria War as Military Readies Strikes
Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com

(August 23, 2013) -- In an interview with CNN today, President Obama sought to stake out an opposition to war against Syria, even as he has privately ordered the military to draw up additional options for an attack that could be launched at a moment's notice.

The Pentagon now has cruise missiles ready to go, just waiting for the green light from President Obama to launch. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel confirmed that the latest options were drawn up at Obama's behest.

Yet while Obama said the Syria remains a "grave concern," he warned that the US "could get drawn into very expensive, difficult, costly interventions that actually breed more resentment in the region."


Pentagon Preps Cruise Missiles to Attack Syria
Jason Ditz / Antiwar.com

(August 23, 2013) -- Officials continue hyping Wednesday's allegations of a chemical weapons strike, saying that they believe such an attack probably happened even though they don't have any actual proof to back that up. Conveniently enough, the Pentagon has new plans for attacking Syria.

The Pentagon was apparently hard at work coming up with these new plans and new targets, even though Joint Chiefs chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey had only two days prior warned against military involvement, and now has the cruise missiles ready to go, just waiting for presidential approval to launch the attack.

Now officials seem closer than ever to starting a war, and though President Obama did insist there would be "no rush" to attack Syria, there seems to be a renewed Congressional push to get the jump on Syria by not waiting for any pesky evidence to support their claims and just attacking outright.

With NATO allies France and Turkey already on the bandwagon and the Pentagon now having cruise missiles ready to go at a moment notice, it will be awfully easy for the administration to start attacking and argue that it was a "compromise" compared to some other, even bigger attack.

The case for that already seems to be getting laid out by the White House, which insists that they don't envision "boots on the ground" during any potential military intervention.

What sort of attack that would mean remains to be seen, but officials have often discussed setting up "buffer zones," nominally for humanitarian reasons but primarily to give Syrian rebel factions a place from which to launch attacks with impunity.

At the same time, any military intervention that seriously changes the situation on the ground will run into the same problem that has repeatedly been pointed to, that of the rebels' dominance by al-Qaeda allies. This means that any attack that harms the Assad government too much risks bringing a jihadist faction into power that will be even more hostile toward the US.

Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.

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