|Assad knows sarin kills children first|
|Donald Rumsfeld & Saddam Hussein|
After Assad had been assure of no US military intervention, he made a speech three days later, 30 March 2011, in which he reversed his promise to lift the emergency law. When people took to the streets in protest the next day, 25 were killed by his security forces in Latakia. After Clinton's policy statement, Assad started using his army against protesters and the death toll started to rise dramatically. The private spooks at Stratfor Global Intelligence saw clearly that Hillary Clinton was signalling US acceptance of Assad's brutal crackdown. In a memo dated 31 March 2011, they wrote:
Washington could have easily sent a warning to Damascus by saying that "Libya-like treatment for Syria is one of the options". France was already willing to get engaged in Syria. But US did the contrary.
|John Kerry & Bashar al Assad|
30,000 Libyans were killed in the struggle to overthrow Gaddafi in 2011 and less than that number of Syrians had been killed in that conflict by 20 August 2012 when US President Barack Obama made chemical weapons his red-line. Because his "red-line" statement made the bar that might provoke a US military response so very high, it was largely seen in the region as a green light to Assad's continuing attacks on civilians with conventional weapons.
#Assad " Green Light" reaction to @BarackObama 's statement of "red line" was: 600+ murdered in #DarayaMassacre #Syria— Mouna Hashem منى ☪† (@mannoush) August 29, 2012
something like a green light by Washington. Two days before the 21 August attack, on 19 August, top US general Martin Dempsey sent a letter to congress restating the Obama administration's opposition to US military intervention in Syria. The day before that, on 18 August, U.S. eavesdropping equipment began picking up signs of Syrian army preparation for the attack as an elite CW unit moved into Damascus. They didn't translate the intercepts until later and had no foreknowledge of the attack was the "believe it or don't" claim the White House made when these facts came out. The question of whether the green light to Assad's continuing carnage contained in Demsey's 19 August letter was more of a general nature, or specific to the 21 August sarin attack, hangs in the balance. In any case, the record of the Obama administration remains one that shows it has done little to discourage Assad's civilian massacres and much to encourage them, especially given its role in leading the international "opposition" to the Assad regime.
Almost no one on the Left objected to Obama's signal to Assad that the US military would not intervene to stop his slaughter of civilians, just as none disavowed his promise to take military action if Assad did use chemical weapons --- at the time this promise was made and the green light given. Like most other things about the growing conflict it Syria, for most on the Left this was happening where they were trying not to look. That is probably also why the many voices on the Left that emerged after the 21 August 2013 deaths to question who was really responsible for the sarin attack on East Ghouta, never speculated about who was really behind the months of attacks by conventional bombs and missiles on East Ghouta that preceded the sarin attack, or commented on the multitude of attacks since, including most recently, Russian air strikes against East Ghouta. It still is proving to be an area Assad can't conquer. That should answer the commonly put question: "Why would he use sarin when he is winning?"
1454 civilians were killed in besieged east #Ghouta since August due to #Syrian & #Russian airstrikes— Zaher Sahloul (@sahloul) November 11, 2015
Syrian boy in East Ghouta takes refuge in a small hole from regime barrel bombs, shells, missiles, and Russian bombs pic.twitter.com/i0VSdiRG4a— Syria Pragmatist (@Alex_Schuchman) November 9, 2015
Now it would seem that these theories have been adopted wholesale and uncritically because there appears to be a perception on the Imperial Left that it was "proven" that the sarin attack was a "false flag" attack. I have been very surprised by the number of "anti-imperialists" who treat that as if it were an established fact.
Given the significant of this breach of the hundred year old ban on the use of chemical weapons against civilians, and the importance of its return as a weapon against mass uprisings, one should expect the Left to be first among those pursuing the perpetrators no matter who they might be. The US military strike question aside, 1,400 people were murdered in what clearly was a war crime and someone needs to be brought before the International Criminal Court for that. That's not what happened. Those promoting alternate theories were acting as Assad's attorneys, not prosecutors for the people. As soon as the danger of a US military response passed, they dropped the case. The Imperial Left never really settled on whodunit, but they are sure Assad is innocent.
There never was any real danger of a US military response. The original "red-line" statement was more about what the US wouldn't do rather than what the US would do under what Obama thought were improbable conditions. Now that his bluff had been called, he needed a way out. That's why he threw this command decision to congress and why all those protesting "Hands off Syria" were doing him a favor.
|Veterans for Peace marching with Assad supporters|
Of course, the military strike against Assad never happened. Hasn't even happened yet when Obama has bombed just about every side in Syria but Assad's. That's how close he came to bombing Assad in 2013! What did happen was that Assad agreed to give up all the chemical weapons he would admit to having. That included his well known supply of sarin. Although the United Nations had been prohibited from naming a culprit in the sarin attack by the Russian veto, after Assad turned over his sarin, they were able to compare it to samples that came from the 21 August attack and come to the very interesting conclusion that the sarin used in the 21 August attack came from "the chemical weapons stockpile of the Syrian military."
If those UN test results are believed, it it almost impossible not to conclude that the Assad regime was behind the attack. After all, it never claimed any was stolen or otherwise went missing. If the UN results are believed, we have to conclude that all the stories concocted by Sy Hersh, Ray Govern and Mint Press about sarin created in someone's kitchen were so much hooey. Yet none of them have been called to task to defend their stories in the light of this new information or to discredit the UN report. As near as I can tell, that UN report has been ignored by the Imperial Left that long ago concluded that it was a false flag situation of some sort and that Bashar al-Assad was innocent of attacking East Ghouta, at least with sarin on 21 August 2013.
The mainstream Left has been dominated by this Imperial Left and it has been wrong about Syria from the beginning. While its militants like to portray themselves as the staunches opponents of US imperialism, they have been supporting US policy in Syria all along which, contrary to public pronouncements, has been to keep the Assad regime in power. This Imperial Left has played an important supporting role in promoting this US imperialist policy in Syria because this policy meant standing aside while Assad and his backers waged a ruthless campaign of mass murder and collective punishment against a popular uprising while looking like they are against it. The "anti-imperialist" claim that Obama was for "regime change" because he said so helped to sell the illusion, and their "exposure" of even the smallest example of US support for fight against Assad was a real propaganda force multiplier.
Assad regime kills seven times as many as ISIS but you would never know it from the news coverage. If the US imperialists had ever wanted to build popular support for military intervention in Syria, they wouldn't need to make stuff up or stage any false-flag attacks, all they would have to do is show people what the Assad regime has been doing.
It should surprise no one, especially on the Left, to learn that the last thing the US imperialists would want in Syria is a revolutionary government. Whenever did the US really want that for a 3rd world country? In spite of the "war of words" between the West and the Assads, they have been partners in maintaining the oppressive status quo. The Assad regime cooperated with the Pentagon in its 1991 war on Iraq and with the CIA in its "war on terror." In the past forty years it has given Israel its most peaceful border.
But since the US claims to be a beacon of democracy and the Assad regime was well known to be a brutal dictatorship, no US President can be expected to come out openly in support of such a regime. At least not without a Daesh of terrorism thrown into mix to justify a "lesser of two evils" solution, as is happening now. It should surprise no one when a US President expresses support for the overthrow of such a tyrant or repeatedly asks him to "step down." This has all been part of Obama's "Good Cop" play on Syria. What is surprising is that the mainstream Left should enhance Obama's play by believing his words over his actions and accusing him of "regime change" for years while he has done nothing to implement it, or that they threw their support behind a mass murderer because he claimed to be an "anti-imperialist."
Let me count the ways the Imperial Left has supported "their own" Imperialists:
as silent as the mainstream media about publicizing Assad regime atrocities. They have done almost nothing to protest a war that has killed hundreds of thousands in years. If Democracy Now, to take one example, had chosen to campaign against Assad's barrel bombing on an almost daily basis with raw footage generally available on YouTube, it may have well been a game changer. But that didn't happen. You are no more likely to hear about Assad's most recent barrel bombing on Amy's show than on Fox News.
The second way the Imperial Left has supported its own bourgeoisie on Syria is that they have helped to sell the story that the US government really was opposed to Assad and was working to get him out. Its one thing for Obama to say that Assad should step aside. Having an opposition that complains that he is carrying out a program of regime change has helped a lot more people believe. It has also helped that they make hay out of what little support he has given to the opposition by implying that it is just the tip of an iceberg. They have also been a useful conduit for stories "leaked" from the CIA. Far more effective than a press release from the CIA.
The third way the Imperial Left has supported its own bourgeoisie on Syria is that they have come out loudly on Syria whenever one of Assad atrocities does break through the wall of silent and threatens the world's indifference to his crimes. Then they work hard to blow smoke and dust into the air only for the crimes that have come to public attention, all while being very careful not to bring others into the light of day. They did that when the Houla massacre made the news, most notably, after Assad used sarin in East Ghouta, and most recently to defend the Russian bombing of Assad's opposition.
By their mean-spirited indifference to the struggle of the Syrian people, they have driven thousands of young people away from the Left and towards the jihadists. They have done quite a bit to discredit the Left in the Arab world and among Muslims. The Syrians fighting the regime count Code Pink and Veterans for Peace as being in the enemy camp and they are quite correct to do so. It is therefore quite ironic that one of the main justifications of this Imperial Left for not supporting the Syrian revolution is its lack of Left leadership.
|Obama & Putin discuss Syria today|