They say that the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is true in most things, but especially when it concerns western policy in the Middle East. I’ve been watching, with more and more discomfort, as the sounds of war drums have steadily increased in volume in Syria. On Monday, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry read a speech that, if I didn’t know better, would have made me believe
that he’d seen Bashar al-Assad personally sit in a tank and launch a chemical weapons canister at a nursery school. However, in my humble opinion, there is much more than meets the eye.
First of all, lets not pretend that the western powers didn’t have it in for Mr Assad (just as they had it in for Saddam and Gaddafi). The Baath party regime of Bashar al-Assad and his father Hafez al-Assad shared one thing in common with both the deposed Saddam and Gaddafi; a strong opposition to the Jewish state. Not only did these men totally oppose the existence of the state of Israel, they also had in their means the ability to wage war against it.
I will not for one second say that these men were angels. But in a region where they’re aren’t many good guys, doesn’t it seem strange that whenever there is a war to be fought to ‘protect civilians‘, it’s always against the person who isn’t friends with Israel? I mean, look at what happened in Egypt just a few weeks ago. Hundreds of civilians were mowed down by the Egyptian military without barely a peep from the same people who are now sending warships close to Syria’s maritime border.
I know that I might sound like a conspiracy theorist but who can blame me? I still vividly remember another US SEcretary of State, this time Collin Powell, addressing the United Nations Security Council and pleading for urgent action against Iraq. He showed the delegates satellite pictures proving beyond all reasonable doubt that Saddam was not only stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, but that he was on the verge of using them against his own people. As he had done in the aftermath of the first Gulf War.
When Hans Blix, the head of the UN inspection team asked for more time to inspect those areas the Americans said Saddam stockpiled these weapons, he was rebuffed and later withdrawn. The war machine was rumbling forward and it wouldn’t be stopped for any reason. Years later, after the war, insurgency and breakdown of the Iraqi state, there still isn’t any evidence of weapons of mass destruction. However, there IS a lot of oil being pumped out. And there ISNT a military threat to Israel.
When I look at what is happening today, a sense of deja vu assails me. First of all, there is bias. The civil war currently taking place is an ugly business. No one is blameless here. But if one is to be swallow wholeheartedly what is being put in the public domain, one would think that its a David versus Goliath fight (with ‘good’ David being the rebels). That is the furthest thing from the truth; the rebels have been receiving aid from countries like Qatar, Turkey and, in all probability, almost all western nations especially the US and the UK (in either covert military form or overt humanitarian assistance).
So, while I believe that the Assad forces might be guilty off crimes, I cannot believe that the rebels are not.
If that is so, then why aren’t we getting both sides of the story? Is it because there is a systematic ploy to cause, as Russian foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said “hysteria”?
Doesn’t it seem rather suspicious that the Syrian government would use chemical weapons on Damascus civilians, therefore crossing President Obama’s ‘Red Line’? I mean how stupid would Assad’s people have to have been to use chemical weapons in their capital? A place where they, in the most part, still control? The place where the world’s attention was focussed? I’m not saying that such an action would be outside the realm of possibility, but I must admit that I don’t find it logical.
Throw in the fact that the Americans have already started casting doubt on the potential findings of the UN investigative team, saying that the finding wont be accurate, and I can come to only one conclusion. The West has gotten tired of the rebel’s inefficiency and want to do the job themselves. And do the job they will. So, Mr Assad, I only hope that you are treated better than misters Saddam and Gaddafi.