Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Last week, the Obama administration announced that U.S. Intelligence points to small-scale use of sarin in Syria:
In a letter sent to lawmakers before Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's announcement, the White House said that intelligence analysts have concluded "with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin."
The White House cautioned that the "chain of custody" of the chemicals was not clear and that intelligence analysts could not confirm the circumstances under which the sarin was used, including the role of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
But, the letter said, "we do believe that any use of chemical weapons in Syria would very likely have originated with the Assad regime."
Note the caution and need for further investigation of the evidence in this statement. This is the lesson learned from the fabrication of intelligence and lies told to falsely lead this country into an unnecessary war in Iraq. Contrast this restraint with Neocon war monger Sen. John McCain, who said the evidence is good enough for him, let's intervene in Syria yesterday:
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, urged the administration to work for the establishment of a safe zone for Syrian rebels.
"Everything that the non-interventionists said would happen in Syria if we intervened has happened," he said. "The jihadists are on the ascendency, there is chemical weapons being used, the massacres continue.
"The president of the United States said that if Bashar Assad used chemical weapons that it would be a game changer, that it would cross a red line," the Arizona senator said. "I think it is pretty obvious that red line has been crossed."
Later, McCain said the reported use of chemical weapons was only a matter of time and that the United States "should have intervened a long time ago whether Bashar al-Assad was using them or not."
"No one should be surprised that he would do such a thing. We all know he will do whatever's necessary to hang on to power," McCain told CNN's Jake Tapper on Thursday. "And why should, frankly, chemical weapons be a red line when he's slaughtering and massacring, raping and torturing, his own people?"
Sen. McCain clearly prefers to see American troops fighting and dying in Syria, the justification for such a unilateral military intervention and to what purpose, he did not say. Team America: World Police is a fictional movie, not a foreign policy strategy, despite what McCain and his Neocon war monger buddies at PNAC dreaming of a Pax Americana empire fantasize about. America is not the world's cop.
Nor does McCain say on whose side the U.S. should ally in an intervention, or consider the unanticipated consequences of doing so. (He has learned nothing from the disastrous Neocon military adventure in Iraq.) The New York Times today reports, Islamist Rebels Create Dilemma on Syria Policy:
Across Syria, rebel-held areas are dotted with Islamic courts staffed by lawyers and clerics, and by fighting brigades led by extremists. Even the Supreme Military Council, the umbrella rebel organization whose formation the West had hoped would sideline radical groups, is stocked with commanders who want to infuse Islamic law into a future Syrian government.
Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.
* * *
Among the most extreme groups is the notorious Al Nusra Front, the Qaeda-aligned force declared a terrorist organization by the United States, but other groups share aspects of its Islamist ideology in varying degrees.
“Some of the more extremist opposition is very scary from an American perspective, and that presents us with all sorts of problems,” said Ari Ratner, a fellow at the Truman National Security Project and former Middle East adviser in the Obama State Department. “We have no illusions about the prospect of engaging with the Assad regime — it must still go — but we are also very reticent to support the more hard-line rebels.”
* * *
The religious agenda of the combatants sets them apart from many civilian activists, protesters and aid workers who had hoped the uprising would create a civil, democratic Syria.
When the armed rebellion began, defectors from the government’s staunchly secular army formed the vanguard. The rebel movement has since grown to include fighters with a wide range of views, including Qaeda-aligned jihadis seeking to establish an Islamic emirate, political Islamists inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood and others who want an Islamic-influenced legal code like that found in many Arab states.
“My sense is that there are no seculars,” said Elizabeth O’Bagy, of the Institute for the Study of War, who has made numerous trips to Syria in recent months to interview rebel commanders.
Of most concern to the United States is the Nusra Front, whose leader recently confirmed that the group cooperated with Al Qaeda in Iraq and pledged fealty to Al Qaeda’s top leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden’s longtime deputy. Nusra has claimed responsibility for a number of suicide bombings and is the group of choice for the foreign jihadis pouring into Syria.
Another prominent group, Ahrar al-Sham, shares much of Nusra’s extremist ideology but is made up mostly of Syrians.
So when McCain says the U.S. should intervene in Syria on behalf of the rebel opposition, the unanticipated consequences of this knee-jerk response to intervention in Syria may be empowering radical Islamists with connections to al Qaeda, and the creation of a radical Islamic state opposed to the U.S. and Israel. This is why no one should ever listen to John McCain on foreign policy.
But "If it's Sunday, it's John McCain" and his puppet boy Little Lindsey Graham on the Sunday morning bobblehead shows, promoting their Neocon bloodlust for U.S. intervention in Syria. Steve Benen reports, Avoiding a 'costly military enterprise':
For his part, John McCain, making his ninth Sunday show appearance of the year -- the most of anyone in the country -- now believes President Obama is to blame, at least in part, for the Assad regime's offensives.
"What has happened here is the president drew red lines about chemical weapons thereby giving a green light to Bashar Assad to do anything short of that -- including scud missiles and helicopter gunships and air strikes and mass executions and atrocities that are on a scale that we have not seen in a long, long time," McCain said.
The senator, who has the misfortune of being wrong about nearly every foreign policy conflict of the last few decades, added that he does not want the U.S. to invade Syria, but prefers to give "assistance" to rebels fighting the Assad regime.
Many of those same rebels, it's worth emphasizing, have already pledged allegiance to al Qaeda, a detail McCain generally prefers to overlook when he argues we should give them resources and weapons.
McCain's puppet boy, Little Lindsey Graham on "Face the Nation," went just a little further still:
"[F]our things are going to happen if we don't change course in Syria. It's going to become a failed state by the end of the year. It's fracturing along sectarian/ethnic lines. It's going to be an al Qaeda safe haven.
"The second thing, the chemical weapons, enough to kill millions of people, are going to be compromised and fall into the wrong hands. And the next bomb that goes off in America may not have nails and glass in it."
Yep, it sure sounds like Graham believes the U.S. has to intervene in Syria or we'll face a chemical weapon attack on American soil. The "smoking gun as a mushroom cloud" argument didn't go away; it just evolved.
The only option here, one that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has already rejected, if for he and his regime to leave Syria in exile to a safe haven (Russia reportedly has offered). United Nations weapons inspectors would have to be deployed in Syria to secure the chemical weapons stockpiles. They would require armed military protection. But none of this appears likely to occur.