Written by Brian Kalman exclusively for SouthFront; Brian Kalman is a management professional in the marine transportation industry. He was an officer in the US Navy for eleven years.
A number of days have passed since naval and air assets of the United States, France and the UK struck a number of targets of the Syrian government within that nation’s sovereign borders. The attacks took place during the early morning hours of April 14th. I was getting ready to celebrate my 43rd birthday that day, and became aware of the attacks in an otherwise good mood on the evening of April 13th (local time) on the U.S. east coast. I, like so many people, whether ordinary citizens, independent media commentators, government officials (even a few in the U.S.), analysts, and former generals and ambassadors, simply could not understand the logic behind these attacks. It soon became apparent that the narrative surrounding the “surgical strikes”, not just the pretext for their being conducted in the first place, but the details of how they were carried out, began to become questionable. Under what rationale could the U.S. establishment explain that the alleged chemical attack was carried out by the Syrian government, when such a decision would be totally illogical in that it would be of absolutely no benefit to the Syrian government? Additionally, why would the U.S. and its allies time such an attack to immediately precede the arrival of an OPCW team dispatched to determine if a chemical weapons attack actually took place or not? As more information was released by both the U.S. and Russian governments detailing the actual cruise missile strikes, it soon became apparent that the narrative presented by the U.S. government was not at all true. So, what was the motive and the purpose of such an attack, and what actually took place?
It is quite easy for anyone at this point, with over seven years of the Syrian conflict behind us, to realize that the Syrian government was not the perpetrator of a chemical attack, let alone an attack that would have nothing but negative ramifications and zero benefits. Many such attacks had been carried out in the past, and were found to be carried out by the opposition, not the government. There is a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that some of these “attacks” were either wholly staged, or that opposition factions killed men, women and children and then positioned the bodies to fake video and photo “evidence” of such attacks. The notorious “White Helmets” have been implicated in some of these incidents. Almost every time, Western and Gulf states invested in the ongoing proxy invasion (it has never been a civil war) have seized on such deplorable and tragic events to call for a widening of the conflict. The comments made and investigations carried by UN commission member Carla Del Ponte and MIT professor Theodore Postol (professor emeritus specializing in WMD and NBC warfare) all but proved that the chemical weapons attacks that were the pretext to the aborted Obama administration intervention, and Trump’s first cruise missile attack against the Syrian Arab Airforce airfield at Shayrat last year, were actually perpetrated by the opposition, not the Syrian government. The narratives pushed to frame Syria’s president Assad as the perpetrator of these crimes have been proven to be utter fabrications. Are we truly to believe that this chemical attack, if it truly was a chemical attack at all, was once again perpetrated by a Syrian government that had already beaten the Islamic radicals in Douma on the battlefield, had liberated thousands of civilians kept as human shields, and had received the terrorists’ agreement to surrender the territory in exchange for free passage to a different, yet ever shrinking opposition held territory? The Syrian military has been winning the war for a long time now, and with every victory, the true nature of the “rebel” opposition becomes clearer. They are not a grass roots national opposition, but a barbaric menagerie of Islamic fundamentalist mercenaries working for the interests of their paymasters in Washington, Paris, London, Riyadh and Doha. I almost forgot the air support and medical services provided courtesy of Tel Aviv.
How long can the western mainstream media keep pushing the same ridiculous narrative? I guess they can push it as long as gullible or apathetic populations keep buying what they are selling, or remain unconcerned by the immoral, illegal and treasonous criminality of their governments. As a U.S. citizen who values the universal, inalienable rights of all of the worlds’ people, I have been utterly appalled by the conduct of my government. Or more accurately described, the shadow government, or deep state. Call it what you will. I am very aware that I am not alone, but have increasingly found, like so many other aspects of the social and political fabric of this country, I am falling on one of two increasingly polarized sides. Americans either increasingly understand and are disturbed by the fact that their government, the mainstream media and Hollywood (The Ministry of Propaganda) are lying to them about pretty much everything, or blindly accept what they are being told, either out of stupidity, apathy, an inability to confront the negative ramifications of reality, blind allegiance to a corrupted and decadent version of what the country once was, or a combination of some or all of the above. Is it really so much easier to ignore the ugly truth and bury your head in the sand? As a Syrian soldier fighting on the front lines to salvage a country that is still one of the most secular and tolerant nations in the Middle East, this is hardly an option. As an American with no greater worries than who won the baseball game the other night, or if their president had sex with a porn star, I guess they have the luxury of such a misguided and ridiculous level of ignorance and indifference. I sincerely mean no insult to the many hard working Americans who are truly disturbed by the actions of “their” government and are concerned about the horrible war in Syria, all the while are struggling to make ends meet and raise good and moral children in an increasingly immoral American society.
With a full understanding of past events in the Syrian conflict, how does one explain what happened last week? What is the real reason that the U.S. and its loyal European vassals fired cruise missiles into Syria and what was actually achieved in material terms? We have all heard the narrative pushed by the U.S. government and their MSM propagandists, that 105 cruise missiles (very new and smart!) were launched by naval and air assets, mainly targeting three Syrian government locations engaged in the development and/or storage of chemical warfare agents. Trump asserts that all the missiles hit their targets, not one was intercepted nor malfunctioned, resulting in a flawless, precision strike. U.S. media parroted the Pentagon’s talking point that Syrian air defenses could only “blindly” fire surface to air missiles in response. I am really at a loss as to how you can actually blind-fire a radar guided surface-to-air missile at an aerial target, or under what circumstances this would even be feasible, but what do I know, I don’t work for CNN.
The Russian Ministry of Defense (MOD) has presented a very different analysis of the strike, stating that 71 out of the 103 missiles fired were in fact intercepted. According to the Russian MOD, Syrian air defense forces engaged 110 enemy cruise missiles, firing 112 surface-to-air missiles to intercept. So, who is telling the truth, or more accurately, a more truthful version of what actually happened? At this point it is hard to say what actually took place; however, there is enough circumstantial evidence to state with confidence that the narrative presented by the U.S. government is not even remotely probable. After the Russian and Syrian militaries reported that almost 70% of incoming missiles were interdicted, and videos illustrating the probable aerial intercepts over Syrian territory (although this is still only circumstantial evidence) emerged, the U.S. DOD released a few grainy, black and white “before and after” satellite images of sites supposedly targeted and destroyed in the strikes. With all of the high tech surveillance capabilities at its disposal, the U.S. could only rebut with this scant, amateurish proof? General Schwarzkopf’s press conferences during operation Desert Storm decades ago made this presentation appear laughable in comparison. Even more damning was the footage shot of the aftermath of the attack on the supposed chemical weapons research facility in Damascus, the Barzah Research and Development Center. Are we truly to believe that 76 Tomahawk cruise missiles successfully struck this one small complex of buildings? What is the size of this complex, between 5 and 10 acres? Some structures, although burned out and heavily damaged, were left standing after being struck by over 76,000 lbs. of high explosives? Each Tomahawk (most likely the Block III TLAM-C in this scenario) is equipped with a 1,000 lb. blast/fragmentary unitary warhead. Why waste 76 Tomahawks on a single target? To send a message, or because you calculate that a high proportion of the missiles will likely be intercepted by Syrian or Russian air defenses? Are we truly to believe that 76 Tomahawk cruise missiles successfully struck the Barzah complex?
Another obvious question not asked by the sycophantic mainstream media, is what would happen if a chemical weapons facility located in a heavily populated suburb of Damascus, supposedly stockpiling Sarin gas, happened to be blown sky high? Wouldn’t at least some portion of Sarin gas, or other deadly chemical substance particulates be released into the surrounding environment? What better way to avenge the immoral murder of innocent children than to bomb a chemical weapons plant in a heavily populated city, right? Sarin gas is a highly toxic nerve agent, with a lethal exposure of only 35mg. per cubic meter per minute for two minutes, resulting in death for a grown adult. And yet, no civilian casualties were reported. Does this strike anyone as being totally improbable, or even a little bit implausible? That’s because it is. This totally implausible narrative only reinforces the assertion (verified by the OPCW no less) that Syria surrendered all of its chemical weapons in 2013. As the Syrian government professes, the Barzah Research and Development Center obviously is not engaged in chemical weapons research and development. They may be involved in researching God knows what, but not deadly nerve agents as the U.S. government insists.
To be honest, I have no idea what really happened in the early morning hours of April 14th in Syria. Two very different versions of events have been presented as the truth. All I can do as a logical and rational human being is look at what is known, or at least probable in light of the circumstantial evidence available. There is no photographic or video proof to suggest that 105 Tomahawk cruise missiles all hit their intended targets successfully. There is circumstantial evidence to support the accretion that they did not. There is very clear evidence to support the assertion that the Barzah Research and Development Center was not engaged in developing or storing chemical weapons, because if this was in fact the case, there would have at least been some civilian casualties as the result of this facility being destroyed. I am no chemical weapons expert, but it is simply counterintuitive to think otherwise. The release of even a minute amount of sarin gas would prove deadly to some of the thousands of civilians living adjacent to the facility.
So what was accomplished as a result of the grand 105 missile strong attack? Was the U.S. portrayed as the omnipresent, all-powerful arbiter of law and order in the world, or revealed to be a playground bully with not enough might to back up their bluster? If the U.S. attack did go off without a hitch and all missiles hit their intended targets, what was the real result of this costly exercise (approximately $200 million in ordinance, not to mention the cost of using the aircraft, submarines, and warships to deliver said ordinance)? Did Trump exhibit strength, or ineptitude? Did the “strongest military in the history of the world” just reveal a chink in its armor? Russia and Syria may assert that 70% of enemy cruise missiles were successfully intercepted, but even if the real number was only 50% or even 30%, it would reveal that the often touted U.S. military superiority is a total falsehood. The modern and capable Russian air defense assets in the region never fired a shot. At least a portion of U.S. advanced cruise missiles were defeated by decades old Soviet technology. If true, this reality should shake U.S. military planners to the core.
As my friend The Saker often asserts, the U.S. establishment (including the Department of Defense) simply has no real strategy in the Middle East. I would argue that it has no overall geopolitical strategy at all. We are witnessing the death throes of a dying empire which has become the biggest believer in its own narrative, a narrative based on delusion and hubris. This is a very dangerous reality, and hopefully one that will come to a conclusion that costs a minimal of lives. Hundreds of thousands of lives have already been ended in an immoral, criminal attempt to destroy yet another sovereign nation in the Middle East. A nation that dared to walk its own path in the world. The destiny of Syria will be determined, for good or ill, by the Syrian people and that is how it should be. I would also assert that there may very well be a war within the power structure of the U.S. state itself, and the apparent schizophrenic foreign policy and polarized domestic intragovernmental conflict we are all bearing witness to are clear signs of this. Not all is what it seems, or at least not what the MSM propagandists would like us all to believe. One day in the near future, I may end up looking back on my 43rd birthday and remembering the day when the first chink in the empire’s armor was revealed, the tapestry of lies started to unravel, and the world began to see that the emperor truly has no clothes.