…by Nahed Al Husaini, Damascus VT Bureau
[ Editor’s Note: VT has been here before – an impending attack on Syria with the usual gamesmanship being played by various actors – but this time it is more dangerous. Russia is locked and loaded.
Today we had NATO entering from stage left with a statement that it was “not interested in a conflict with Russia” in the morning.
But by afternoon, US envoy to NATO, Kay Hutchinson, a political appointee, accused Assad of “genocide” and called for a military strike, something that she does not have authority to do from her position. Someone should inform her that she is not the president.
“Dear Kay, NATO envoy and Cmdr. in Chief are two different things. Call me, I can explain it all to you in a few minutes while you take notes.”
What we are seeing here is the usual Deep State lynch-mob frenzy going on –only the stakes are higher now. The US and Russia are already at war inside Syria, with US forces having killed Russians helping the Syrian forces, and NATO Special Ops people have been quietly killing Russians to provoke Moscow.
Putin, as usual has not over-reacted, but he has drawn a line in the sand on an overt attack on Russian forces. This is not aggressive on his part. As commander-in-chief of the Russian forces, he has a duty to allow them to defend themselves; and I suspect he will.
That may be just what the US Coalition wants him to do. Germany and France, the latter more friendly to Moscow than most of the EU, are eager to join in the attack, which they might regret.
But I suspect that any attack will be careful to strike only Syrian forces, to not cross Russia’s red line. We don’t know the real US goal here. Is Trump baiting Putin into a major escalation, or showing that the US has to be dealt with in Syria or it will keep orchestrating these phony gas attacks to bomb Syria to get attention?
So far the Western world has shown no embarrassment in swallowing the gassing claims with no proof. VT has debunked the allegations in spades.
Without some major domestic political opposition, there is nothing to stop the war crowd. The “rogue nation” thing seems popular in the EU now.
The citizens of these countries need to get on the job of putting some pressure on their leaderships to stop this “sleepwalking into war” craziness they are putting us all through.
As this insanity rolls on, the grownups are trying to stop the process. The Arab American Congress has been putting an investigation group together to go to Syria to personally investigate the alleged Ghouta gassing attack. And the OPCW is also sending a team there, trying to head off a US attack.
No commercial planes seem to be flying over Syria today, so we wonder how outside groups would be able to get there. The route through Beirut, and then up to Damascus on bushwhack alley, would be more dangerous than usual. VT has been there and done that route several times already. We will try to keep a war watch going, as we have in the past … Jim W. Dean ]
A face-saving formula to fend off the attack
The last-minute diplomatic flurry at the United Nations last night was instrumental in blocking an imminent US attack on Syria.
In this regard, Secretary General of Arab American Congress Dr. Zakaria Khalaf called upon the Senate House and the United Nations to form a fact-finding commission to investigate the chemical weapons claims that the Syrian Army had used internationally banned gases in Al Gotta against civilians.
The Russians have not found any trace indicating the usages of such chemicals in Al Gotta.
Dr. Khalaf told VT that members of the Senate met with President Donald Trump to convince him not to take any decision unilaterally without referring back to the Congress.
Accordingly, a preliminary consent was given by the United Nations to send a special committee from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to Syria to carry out the investigation and file a report with the final outcomes.
It is more likely that President Donald Trump will not take an action before reviewing the report to be submitted by the UN assigned committee.
Dr. Khalaf, in his meeting with dignitaries in Washington, said “the Strike will not happen now, but if occurs, it will do harm to the Syrian people, not the regime, and will embolden the militant groups,” indicating that “the international community is acting as a hooker, and the US attack will only serve Israel.”
The Atmosphere in Damascus is very tense and uninviting due to the ominous news about the strike which came at the heels of Al-Gotta liberation from the foreign-backed extremist groups who had committed atrocities against civilians and taken them as hostage.
Attack suspended, not called off
Dr. Osama Ismail Head of American Institute for Middle East strategic studies said “President Trump is currently under immense pressure from the Deep State to deal a strong blow to Russia in Syria,” adding that “the foremost aim of the strike is to undermine Moscow’s leverage in Syria and the Middle East, and to obliterate the Iranian military presence in Syria.”
Dr. Ismail who served as a diplomat in US embassies abroad cited that “if the strike is implemented, it will be pounding Syrian air defenses, telecommunication centers, military airports, and military and intelligence headquarters,” underscoring that “Trump is practically alone in the desire to pull out, and the Deep State is setting him up and making sure he has to stay engaged.”
“There is another objective for the attack which is to weaken the resolve of the Syrian Government, and give the militants a morale boost to regroup and get ready to sneak into Damascus in the form of sleeper cells,” Dr. Ismail reinforced.
High Reliable sources from Damascus told VT “The chemical attack happens day after Trump’s announcement to pull out the troops in 6 months, and nothing by accident.”
Russia’s reaction is robust but calculated
Our sources from Moscow say that the Russian leadership is wary and President Vladimir Putin already met with his top notch military commanders to discuss the precarious situation and the preventative steps to be taken if the strike takes place.
It is anticipated that Russia will not react powerfully if the strike occurs, simply because any uncalculated step from its side may lead to an open confrontation with the United States. Certainly, the Russians do not want this to happen now for internal and external considerations. It remains to be seen.