US bluff on Syria called

US bluff on Syria called
Highlights

The Nobel Laureate must be having nightmares. President Obama has trapped himself in a quagmire in Syria. His predicament flows from his threat to deal with President Assad with a military strike. The threat came in the wake of a chemical strike in Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

The Nobel Laureate must be having nightmares. President Obama has trapped himself in a quagmire in Syria. His predicament flows from his threat to deal with President Assad with a military strike. The threat came in the wake of a chemical strike in Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus.

The numbers of deaths were significant and thousands were left injured. A credible international organisation `Doctors without Borders’ has confirmed this and the reason for this devastation were chemical weapons. But that is where facts stop. There is no confirmation of the identity of the perpetrators. A UN special chemical inspectors' team is yet to report its findings. President Obama’s trouble stems from domestic as well as external factors. On the home front, the tell-tale signs of the Obama administration going ahead with a military strike against Syria have faced tremendous resistance.

Secretary of State John Kerry intervened with Ban Ki-Moon, dismissing U.N. investigation as coming too late to obtain valid evidence on the attack that, opposition claimed, killed 1,300 people. This was seen to indicate that the administration was planning a major military strike; suggesting that UN enquiry could hinder its plans. Kerry asserted allowing investigators unrestricted access came “too late to be credible”. Kerry pushed Ban to call off the investigation completely. Wall Street Journal reported the pressure on Ban .But Ban, generally regarded as a pliable instrument of U.S. policy, refused to withdraw and instead “stood firm on principle” and ordered U.N. inspectors to “continue their work”.
The administration’s act, in fact, is substantiating President Assad’s contention. The plea that Syria was not cooperating with the UN inspection team is also unfounded. The Syrian government, in fact, agreed within one day of receiving the formal request. The US intransigence is being vigorously challenged by President Putin. Equally unambiguous is the opposition of China. President Putin, in fact, has issued a grim “urgent action memorandum” to Armed Forces of the Russian Federation ordering a “massive military strike” against Saudi Arabia in case West attacks Syria.
President Putin is particularly infuriated by the Saudi role. Lebanese newspaper As-Safir confirmed this amazing threat against Russia saying that Prince Bandar, spearhead of Saudi activism, pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord by stating: “I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us.”
London’s The Telegraph News Service further reported that Saudi Arabia has secretly offered Russia a sweeping deal to control the global oil market and safeguard Russia’s gas contracts, if the Kremlin backs away from Assad regime in Syria, an offer Putin rejected.
The tiny gas-rich Qatar has spent as much as $3bn in the past two years supporting the rebellion in Syria; but is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of rebel arms. The basic credibility of US claim arises largely from the patently false claims on WMD in Iraq to facilitate the invasion. On chemical weapons itself, Robert Fisk, the most venerated columnist reporting on West Asia recalls – “when Iraq – then America’s ally – used gas against the Kurds of Hallabjah in 1988, we did not assault Baghdad. Indeed, that attack would have to wait until 2003.”
And, there has been clear proof of the US-led forces in Fallujah using chemical weapons. Additionally, in February, there was a `false flag’ claim by Syrian opposition on the use of chemical weapons. But Carla del Ponte, the UN Commissioner on Syria, indicated that it was the rebels who had used Surin gas.
This brings us to Obama’s domestic trouble; 163 members of Congress asked him to have Congressional approval before launching a military attack. This included 21 Democrats. It was pointed out that such action without authorization “would violate the separation of powers” clause that is clearly delineated under Article I, section 8, clause 11 of US Constitution. The world is ranged against Obama. It seems hegemony is under serious question. So, one does not have to second guess on the magnitude of his worries.

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