Luring Trump Into Mideast Wars

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Luring Trump Into Mideast Wars

Source: yahoo.com

Written by Daniel Lazare; Originally appeared at consortiumnews.com

Donald Trump entered military terra incognita on Thursday by launching an illegal Tomahawk missile strike on an air base in eastern Syria. Beyond the clear violation of international law, the practical results are likely to be disastrous, drawing the U.S. deeper into the Syrian quagmire.

But it would be a mistake to focus all the criticism on Trump. Not only are Democrats also at fault, but a good argument could be made that they bear even greater responsibility.

For years, near-total unanimity has reigned on Capitol Hill concerning America’s latest villains du jour, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Congressmen, senators, think-tank strategists, and op-ed analysts all have agreed that Putin and Assad are the prime enemies of “peace,” by which is meant global American hegemony, and that therefore the U.S. must stop at nothing to weaken or neutralize them or force them to exit the world stage.

Until recently, in fact, just about the only politically significant dissenter was Trump. Accusing reporters of twisting the news at a tumultuous press conference in late February, he told them, “Now tomorrow, you’ll say, ‘Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia, this is terrible.’ It’s not terrible. It’s good.”

But since getting along with Russia was terrible for America’s perpetually bellicose foreign-policy establishment, Official Washington declared war on Trump, building on Hillary Clinton’s charge during the last presidential debate that he was Putin’s “puppet.” It became the conventional wisdom that Trump was a “Siberian candidate” being inserted in the White House by a satanic Kremlin determined to bend freedom-loving Americans to its will.

As Inauguration Day approached, President Obama’s intelligence chiefs pulled out all stops to persuade the public that (a) Russian intelligence had engineered Clinton’s defeat by hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers and placing thousands of embarrassing emails in the hands of WikiLeaks and that (b) Trump was somehow complicit in the effort.

The campaign was highly effective. The alleged Putin-Trump relationship was a major feature at the anti-Trump protests surrounding his inauguration and the major U.S. news media pounded on the Russia “scandal” daily.

On Feb. 13, barely four weeks after taking office, Trump crumbled under a mounting barrage of political abuse and gave National Security Adviser Michael Flynn the boot after it was revealed that he had talked with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the transition, supposedly in violation of the 1799 Logan Act, an absurd piece of ancient legislation that even The New York Times referred to as “a dusty, old law” that should have been repealed generations ago.

Under Media Pressure

A day later, the administration reeled again when the Times charged in a front-page exposé that “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

The article provided no evidence and no names and said nothing about whether such contacts were knowing or unknowing, i.e., whether they involved a John le Carré-style midnight rendezvous or merely an exchange of pleasantries with someone who may or may not have been connected to the FSB, as Russia’s version of the CIA is known.

In a March 6 article entitled “Pause This Presidency,” Times columnist Charles M. Blow called for little less than a coup d’état: “The American people must immediately demand a cessation of all consequential actions by this ‘president’ until we can be assured that Russian efforts to hack our election … did not also include collusion with or cover-up by anyone involved in the Trump campaign and now administration.”

How “the American people” would demand such a cessation or who would provide such assurances was not specified.

On March 31, CNN quoted an unnamed senior administration official saying that Trump’s hopes of a rapprochement with Russia were fading because he “believes in the current atmosphere – with so much media scrutiny and ongoing probes into Trump-Russia ties and election meddling – that it won’t be possible to ‘make a deal.’”

Thus, Trump found himself increasingly boxed in by hostile forces. But he still tried to fulfill his promise to concentrate on defeating terrorists in Syria and Iraq. On March 30, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the U.S. administration “priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” but to concentrate on defeating Al Qaeda and ISIS instead.

But the more Trump contemplated his predicament in the following days, the more he realized how untenable it had come. Tuesday’s poison-gas incident in Idlib thus offered a way out regardless of who was actually responsible. The only way for Trump to make peace with the “deep state” in Washington was by waging war on Syria.

Finally, on Thursday, hours before Trump sent a volley of cruise missiles wafting towards Syria, Hillary Clinton taunted him by declaringthat America “should take out his [Assad’s] airfields and prevent him from being able to use them to bomb innocent people.” The effect was to all but force Trump to show that he was every bit as macho as the former First Lady.

Frog-Marching Trump

Trump is certainly a fool for going ahead with such an attack in clear contravention of international law and entangling the United States more deeply into the complicated Syrian conflict. But the blame also should go to the people who frog-marched him to the precipice and then all but commanded him to step over the edge.

Within hours, all the usual suspects were congratulating one of the most scorned U.S. presidents in history for taking the leap.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said: “Making sure Assad knows that when he commits such despicable atrocities he will pay a price is the right thing to do.” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi described Trump’s missile barrage as “a proportional response to the regime’s use of chemical weapons.”

Republican super-hawks Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, previously as anti-administration as any Democrat, issued a joint statement declaring that Trump “deserves the support of the American people,” while liberal heart-throb Sen. Elizabeth Warren also agreed that “the Syrian regime must be held accountable for this horrific act.”

The Guardian, as fiercely anti-Trump as it is anti-Putin and anti-Assad, conceded that “Donald Trump has made his point” and that the next step would be up to Russia. All in all, Trump had never gotten such good press. It’s clear that Official Washington was pleased with Trump’s handiwork and was eager to encourage him to do more.

But the missile barrage was not just an assault on Syria but on reason and good sense, too. Although the Washington Post’s Adam Taylor tried to make it seem that the only critics of the missile barrage are members of the alt-right “known for espousing racist, anti-Semitic and sexist points of view,” the fact is that criticism flowed in from other quarters.

At Alternet, Vijay Prashad pointed out that there were few independent observers in Khan Shaykhun, the farming town where the April 4 incident occurred, to provide an accurate account. Eyewitnesses “with the densest relationship to the armed opposition,” he wrote, “are the first to claim that this attack was done by the government.”

Consortiumnews’ Robert Parry pointed out that rather than dropping the gas themselves, Syrian or Russian warplanes could well have triggered an outbreak by bombing a facility containing “chemicals that the rebels were planning to use in some future attack.” Parry also noted that Al Qaeda, which controls Idlib province, could have “staged the incident to elicit precisely the international outrage directed at Assad as has occurred.”

[Previously, United Nations investigators have received eyewitness testimony from Syrians about rebels staging an alleged chlorine-bomb attack so it would be pinned on the Assad regime.]

Something similar may well have occurred in August 2013, a sarin-gas missile attack on the outskirts of Damascus that killed hundreds and that appears to have been launched from a rebel-controlled area two kilometers away. The two incidents are curiously parallel.

The August 2013 incident, which horrified the world and brought the Obama administration to the brink of its own attack on the Syrian government, occurred just days after a U.N. team had arrived in Damascus to investigate an alleged chemical attack by rebels against Syrian government troops some four months earlier.

It made little sense for the Assad regime to have invited U.N. investigators in and then launch a more horrific chemical-weapons attack just miles from the investigators’ hotel. It would be a bit like someone inviting a police inspector to dinner and then committing a murder in full view.

Not Making Sense

As one independent analysis noted in 2013, the Assad regime would have to have decided to carry out a large-scale attack “despite (a) making steady gains against rebel positions, (b) receiving a direct threat from the US that the use of chemical weapons would trigger intervention, (c) having constantly assured their Russian allies that they will not use such weapons, (d) prior to the attack, only using non-lethal chemicals and only against military targets.”

The Assad government would also have had to decide “to (a) send forces into rebel-held area, where they are exposed to sniper fire from multiple directions, (b) use locally manufactured short-range rockets, instead of any of the long-range high quality chemical weapons in their arsenal, and (c) use low quality sarin.”

All of which seems supremely unlikely, but much of the mainstream U.S. media still treats the 2013 sarin-gas attack as the undeniable case of Assad crossing Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons. And the highly dubious 2013 incident is cited as a key reason to believe that Assad has done it again. [Recently, The New York Times has quietly backed off the 2013 claimsalthough not explicitly retracting its earlier reporting blaming the attack on the Assad regime.]

Assad would have possibly even stronger reasons not to deploy sarin gas on April 4, 2017. He would have to make a conscious decision to court world opprobrium at a time when the tide of the war was finally turning in his favor with the liberation of Aleppo last December and with most world leaders having concluded that the Assad regime was here to stay.

To have produced and deployed a sarin bomb would have meant deliberately risking military intervention more than three years after Syria reached an agreement with the United Nations to destroy its entire chemical-weapons stockpile so as to avoid … military intervention.

All of which seems supremely unlikely as well. It would be an act of suicide – and after holding off a combined U.S., Saudi, Qatari, and Turkish assault for half a decade or more, one thing that Assad does not appear to be is suicidal.

Although Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, “there is no doubt in our mind that the Syrian regime under the leadership of Bashar al-Assad is responsible for this horrific attack,” in reality there is plenty of doubt.

Nevertheless, Trump decided to fire away before the facts were in because the enemy he is most worried about is not the one half a world away in Syria, but the Democratic-neocon alliance in his own backyard. The political warfare in Washington is now generating more agony from real wars in the Middle East.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

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  • Behold a Pale Horse

    No one is luring anyone. Trump is part of the Cabal of Elites and knows exactly what he is doing.

    All Freemasons

    • StaggerLee360

      Cabal of Elites. Freemasons. I look forward to the next comment saying it’s the Jews. Man, are you people idiots. It’s the friggin’ Moslems. Get it? Naw, didn’t think you would.

      • PZIVJ1943

        So you are saying it’s the Sauds, how dare you! :)

        • Jens Holm

          The Jews wrote th Choran to keep all muslims down. Some says they did it with the Hindus.

          • PZIVJ1943

            Are you Spamming here, you are a fast typist.
            You should check on and water your garden. :)

          • Jens Holm

            No, Im just flip the coin.

            Thats how the rest of the world feel every time You blame jews, zionist a.s.o. for things they certainly are not. Our 6.000 jews are all fine people, a part of us and pay tax as anybody else. They dont run the parlament, the primeminister is not guided or hostage for lobby jews and so on.

            Why call this spam, when You use tons about jews incl an exelent monetary system invented by some jew and used by us.

            And we dont want to hear anymore about those phalestinians as well even Israelians are bad guys.

            You could give all those breating like rats citicens pasports, so they could be citicens where they fit – where arabs are.

            But You just use them as human shields and as excuse for doing nothing. here we have taken in many phalestinians in and given them new passport, bjut many dont fit in. But at Yours they are spendable lowlife muslims just above somalis in status. They can hardly marry another muslim here, if they give their last name. If they love somebody from your highstatus countries, they have to run away and hide forever, because they will be killed.

            So clean Your own places first. Youb are mainly not countries, but tribes and the diffrens is sometimes only a comma or to in Choran, hadith or sharua, but even so there are at least 57 silly flags in Iraq and Syria.

            There was an Assyria before Syria was named after that. So what are You: The UN UNITED ARABS.

            You should smile and take an extra locum, when I write that the jews has written the choran. Smile – smile – big smile.

    • Brad Isherwood

      http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/db/38/da/db38dabbce17ea1d5e69eb24f4793fb6.jpg
      https://www.rt.com/op-edge/381243-iran-mosul-iraq-us-trump/
      US occupation of parts of Syria is springboard to Iran.
      US already trying to get Iraqi government to disband PMU and other Shia Militias.

      US have a military draft bill hovering near Congress.

      • Jens Holm

        Ha-ha. Might be Trump could get money for a big fence or a concrite wall there.

    • Jens Holm

      I agree very much. Its runned by the parlament with Mccain as leader of the warfare comitty. Its the same republicans which Obama as a democrat had.

      Here Obama tryed to calm down some activities but agreed mainly with most of the republicans. Trump is a strange kind of republican, so I expact he will go back to the old harder line, but also in a more instabile way.

      No luring. Too many here see the power of Trump as their own dictatorships. But democrasies are not like that. The power AND RESPONSABILITY is diveded in many hands in many places.

      Normally its not as visible as with Trump. many people here might learn how democrasy really is by that. Trump cannot just build a wall against mexicans. Trum also cant just throw all the Obamacare away.

    • darmath

      Freemasonry = Zionism for gentiles/goyas

  • Jesus

    In my own opinion, Trump did not try to appease the democrats along with the neocons, Trump’s personality being of a hard nosed individual that sticks to his plan until he gets the results he is after. He is trying to project the image of a forceful leader to the Europeans, Chinese and their surrogates as well as Russia.
    Of course neocons were happy that the cruise missile attack took place, and are salivating for more, however, Trump did not do this to entice their appetite, he did it for reinforcing the notion that he is someone everyone should take seriously, specially president Xi who was visiting Trump at the time.
    Trump is an opportunist and gets what he wants. Russia should take his statements with a grain of salt

    • Nilo BP

      Oh yeah, everyone knows that threatening to bomb a country back to the stone age and bringing the world to the verge of nuclear war on a lame-ass excuse is often done tongue-in-cheek. Nothing to see here, move along.

      • Jesus

        Had Russia retaliated and sank one or more destroyers that fired the missiles, the egg would have been on Trump’s face. Maybe all the communications between Trump’s surrogates and the Russians touched up on such a scenario.

        • Jens Holm

          Oh yes, and soon ISIS and others has to reintroduce bow and arrow too.

    • StaggerLee360

      Neocons. Who set the time machine to 1997? There are no neocons. Maybe America is taking a stand against a madman who kills his own people with weapons of mass destruction. Personally, I say let them all kill each other. The world will be a better place.

      • Jesus

        Neocons are mostly left wing ungodly Jews that pursue evil schemes. Right, there are no neocons? Who pushed Bush family to war against Iraq on the basis of bogus evidence?
        Assad is killing his own people? That is the scripted narrative of neocons who dreamed up the idea to partition Syria by bringing jihadis from all over the world and arming them to overthrow Assad.

        • BMWA1

          I suppose the Trotskyites will never forgive Russia for going back to Russian nationalism, that trend started already under the radar in the 1920’s.

      • Douglas Houck

        What do you call Robert Kagan who just wrote another classic Neocon OpEd for the WaPo?

      • Jens Holm

        I agree. republicans are a very strange mix, but I hardly see any socallad neocons. Above him with the sandals because he couldnt tie knots tell Jews are in it.

        I can confirm that. Jews are represented in all camps and that too. If jews has or had so much power in USA than the rest deserve.

        Its not their fault so many come in the top but their benefit by education and hard work. I like and respect that very much. It good for a country to have taxpayers with hard plus making jobs for the more lazy ones.

        No wonder the whole arab world incl. turks only has one Nobel prize winner and SAA cant even make warfare with tanks even it was invented by germans at least 80 Years ago.

        So arabs are killing each other as a competition for whos gonna defeat Israel – or what. 8 -10 millions has left their homes to make space for it too?

      • Bob

        The Neo Con ideology – an obsession with reconstructing the middle east and Israeli security – permeates the Washington upper echelon on both sides of the floor – from McCain to Pelosi.
        Assad is not a ‘madman’ he is the President of a secular Arab state, and attempting to stop a foreign sponsored and heavily armed Sunni Islamist insurgency from overrunning it. That is called defending the state, and is actually the responsible course of action from the Syrian perspective.

      • darmath

        Or maybe you are just a brainwashed idiot who blindly repeat moronic msm mantras about ‘a madman who kills his own people’, while he is actually a secular president who defend his country and people from jihadi terrorists supported by your sick, tyrannical government full of madmen. Personally, I say nuke Washington DC. The world will be a better place.

    • BMWA1

      I hope you are right, but I don’t know about this.

    • Jens Holm

      I vote for opportunist too, but some of those also make big loses. I also see some populist in him.

  • Nexusfast123

    The US administration is a complete shambles. Tillerson does not know if he is coming or going.

    • BMWA1

      He seems to be contradicting the Nikki creature at the UN today, I suppose they are all jostling the vacillating President.

      • Thegr8rambino

        Lmao the Nikki creature I love it hahaahah

    • Jens Holm

      Might be his wife knows. Tillerson is new and unexpirienzed. If I was in that Quaqmire I wouldnt try to play Jesus – not even in wintertime – but rather prefare my first command was a sub.

  • DJ Double D

    Very well written article.

  • Thegr8rambino

    I think the CIA/deep state had threatened trump with some fake dirt on him to get him to go along with their plans. Like, “we will release a video of u raping a girl if u dont do this” even though that may have never even happened, but trump didnt wanna take any chances. Of course now that he destroyed any chance at good relations he may have had with Russia, this was probably a far riskier move

  • Bob

    The claims of Sarin gas attacks are not just unsubstantiated, but based on allegations from a non credible Islamic militant linked source. The very dubious British and US government funded, White Helmets, an group organized and run by ex British intelligence officer James Le Mesurier.
    These unsubstantiated allegations also assume the general public has no idea how chemical dispersal weapons actually work. The images the White Helmets posted online show them attending alleged victims – without gloves or face protection. Entering any area or handling corpses saturated in Sarin gas would be quickly lethal without full protection – the toxins would enter body through skin and eyes.
    But equally, in terms of how chemical dispersal is actually used militarily, the SAA has no logical reason to employ chemical dispersal weapons. Chemical weapons are essentially area denial weapons and of limited tactical value. The SAA would not logically chemically saturate an area they were attempting establish control over, so that its own soldiers could not enter the area safely in short order.
    The modern use of chemical weapons was studied heavily by range of military observers during Iran-Iraq war from 1980-88, and it was widely concluded they are only really militarily useful to deny the enemy from accessing set piece territory. With the assumption that your own forces will not be seeking to enter that territory either – it is a negation of set territory. However it was also noted that chemical dispersal in military use has range if efficiency problems – need for highly accurate weather condition reports and being entirely subject to weather conditions for both application and desired results.
    Point being, the SAA would not logically use such weapons from either a military or political standpoint – militarily of no tactical value and politically would only bring more international pressure and response. The unsubstantiated allegations are to reinforce a long standing, decades old, western political narrative of the mad mid eastern dictator – Saddam, Gaddaffi – who need to be removed.
    In short – these unsubstantiated Sarin gas allegations are a tool in ongoing the US Neo Con political narrative for Syrian regime change.