Sunday, September 15, 2013

Syria and the Magic Show

Syria and The Magic Show
P. Schultz
September 15, 2013

Raymond A. Zilinskas, a senior scientist at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and a former United Nations weapons inspector in Iraq, said chemical experts would get up early to beat the desert heat, donning full-body protective suits that protected them from hazardous fumes at sites where lethal toxins were being incinerated in open pits.

“They’d supervise the Iraqis,” he said of the United Nations inspectors. But the local workers themselves, he added, wore sandals and “put rags over their faces.”

“But the rapid work gave way to gradual obstruction. Mr. Hussein grew increasingly hostile to United Nations arms inspectors, and by late 1998, seven years after the gulf war ended, the United States fired hundreds of cruise missiles at Iraq in an unsuccessful bid to force Baghdad to get serious. That effort largely failed, and the absence of inspectors led the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies to make projections about how quickly Mr. Hussein was rebuilding his arsenals. Those estimates, which fueled the march to war in 2003, proved entirely wrong.”

These paragraphs are from a story in today’s NY Times about the coming effort to destroy Syria’s cache of chemical weapons. As the article makes clear, this task will not be easy even if it had the full support of Assad and his government. However, the article also makes clear why Assad probably will not cooperate because he knows that the issue of his chemical weapons is a phony issue. The issue is, of course, him and the goal of the US and its allies is to make him disappear.

“Mr. Assad, however, also knows that Mr. Hussein and Colonel Qaddafi were both deposed and ultimately executed years after giving up their weapons.
“The history does not exactly create an incentive,” the senior administration official said.”

It is always interesting to me how those in charge of the established order act like magicians, making issues and persons appear and disappear with some sleight of hand. The issue in Syria is not and has never been their chemical weapons. It is and has been Assad and the need to remove him from power in order to “stabilize” the Middle East, where “stabilization” means protecting US access to oil and Israel. If the road to that goal necessitates supporting jihadists, as the US did in Libya and is now doing in Syria, then so be it. Apparently, these groups can be dealt with later.

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