Game Changers and Red Lines in Syria

I appreciate the good comments readers have made on my thoughts about the Syrian crisis. Here are further reflections on the latest developments:

If the disclosure on Sunday by Carla Del Ponte of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria is confirmed that Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons, this is a real game changer. It blows a big hole in the Obama administration’s story about the Assad regime crossing the President’s faux red line. It shows how little the government really knows about what’s going on in this complex and bloody civil war. It should make us extremely cautious about becoming involved militarily and reluctant about providing military support for the Syrian rebels.

Speaking of red lines, what about the apparent Israeli air strike against Syrian military facilities early Sunday morning? Several powerful explosions destroyed critical military installations near the presidential palace in Damascus, killing a number of elite Syrian troops. Israel has not confirmed the strikes, but the scale and precision of the attacks were unmistakably of Israeli origin. Sunday’s attack followed another apparent Israeli strike on Friday near the Damascus airport. U.S. officials say that Israel is acting to prevent the transfer of missiles from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The Israeli attacks against Syria are a blatant violation of international law. They increase the risk of the conflict spreading further in the region and should make us even more hesitant about becoming involved militarily. As the New York Times reports today, however, they seem to be stoking debate in Washington about ratcheting up military pressure on the Assad regime. Republican Senator John McCain has reiterated his call for a no-fly zone in Syria. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy said over the weekend that the United States will probably soon begin providing arms for the rebels.

Arming the Syrian rebels would increase the intensity of a war that has already taken more than 70,000 lives. Providing weapons to the rebels means giving military support to insurgent forces that include substantial Al Qaida-related factions. If the jihadist groups in Syria are indeed the toughest fighters, as reports suggest, they are likely to gain control of any weapons we send. The U.S. would end up arming Al Qaida.

12 thoughts on “Game Changers and Red Lines in Syria

  1. Indeed, Washington has a very large weapon aimed at it foot sleepwalking with a blindfold.

  2. http://gowans.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/redlines-and-other-double-standards/

    what’s left
    Redlines and other double standards

    Posted in Syria by what’s left on May 6, 2013
    By Stephen Gowans

    According to the White House, Israel has the right to defend itself (1). I would argue that it doesn’t. Based on the theft of another people’s land and denial of their right to return to the homes from which they fled or were driven, Israel no more than any other thief has the right to defend itself.

    Click on link for article…

  3. Syria: Nusra Front claimed responsibility for at least 600 terror acts

    http://williambowles.info/2013/05/11/syria-nusra-front-claimed-responsibility-for-at-least-600-terror-acts/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+williambowles%2FKJFu+%28WilliamBowles.info+Investigating+the+new+imperialism%29&utm_content=Yahoo%21+Mail

    11 May 2013 – Press TV

    Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations says the al-Nusra Front terrorist group has claimed responsibility for carrying out at least 600 acts of terror in the past year.

    In a Friday address to a UN Security Council session, Bashar al-Jaafari slammed the al-Qaeda-linked group for attacking hospitals and schools, desecrating holy places, assassinating religious figures, and abducting UN personnel.

    click on link for full article…

  4. http://www.globalresearch.ca/syria-one-year-after-the-houla-massacre-new-report-on-official-vs-real-truth/5335562

    A week from now it will be one year since the world first heard about the horrors of a place in Syria called “Houla.” On the afternoon and evening of Friday, May 25, 2012, a reported 108 civilians were massacred there. They were executed inside their homes, with guns and “sharp tools,” and maybe a little bit from shelling as well. As the reader might recall, most of the victims were entire families, included some 49 younger children and even babies.

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