The President of the United States of America is, apparently, leaving no stone unturned to convince the world that chemical weapons were used by the Assad government against the people of Syria. This, in the opinion of Mr. Obama, provides the moral justification for the greatest military power in the world to intervene in the bloody Syrian civil war. However, as news reports from the Syria have pointed out, there is no credible evidence that the chemical weapons were used by the Assad government. Many believe that it could be the case that the rebels themselves were in the possession of these chemical weapons, and might have used them against the Syrian military. We will be coming to that by the end of this article, but there are other important points that we want to discuss first.
The thought of using chemical weapons on people is morally reprehensible. However, it should not be used as a moral justification to intervene in a country that has already suffered tremendously during the ongoing civil war. Isn’t it prudent for the US to do a thorough examination of the events that unfolded in the Ghouta area – the site for the chemical weapons carnage? Should the world’s biggest superpower take a decision of a ‘limited attack’ on a country which is 10,000 miles away on the basis of ambiguous reports? The American President, who comes across as an intelligent and informed man on Middle East politics, is unexplainably behaving with a childish arrogance, something pointed out by Russian Deputy Premier who said that the West was acting like a “monkey with a hand grenade” in Middle East.
Obama’s plans to rope in international support have not worked according to the familiar script. The British Parliament has, for once, declined to become America’s valet, and voted against any intervention in Syria. The United Nations, which was formed to act as a watchdog against international aggressors, can do little to prevent the world’s mightiest country from acting unilaterally in Syria. Russia, on the other hand, has made it explicitly clear that there is no need for the US to step in the ongoing civil war. What is surprising is the fact that even top-ranking officials in the American military are wary of yet another war in Middle East. In a report published in The Washington Post, many top officials speaking on the condition of anonymity expressed that they were shocked and surprised at the President’s plans of muddling in yet another conflict, even after the results of Afghanistan and Iraq were there for all to see. One of the officers interviewed for the story said, “I can’t believe the president is even considering it… We have been fighting the last 10 years a counterinsurgency war. Syria has modern weaponry. We would have to retrain for a conventional war.” Many war veterans are of the opinion that even a limited involvement in Syria on America’s part can spark a full-fledged war in one of the most sensitive areas in the world. Retired head of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. James Mattis, has warned about this last month when he said, “If Americans take ownership of this, this is going to be a full-throated, very, very serious war…”.
In the quagmire of world politics, the average American is begging for an answer to the question, “What on earth does American government want to achieve in Syria”? After seeing American soldiers lose their lives in fighting to dismantle the alleged weapons of mass destruction, a majority of American citizens are not buying the official version of military intervention on moralistic grounds. Most Americans believe that military intervention in Syria is preposterous at a time when the economic recovery and addressing unemployment should be the priority of the government.
Middle East experts are of the belief that American intervention in Syria has nothing to do with the chemical weapons attack of August 21. In fact, a report published in theguardian.com by the title, Syria intervention plan fueled by oil interests, not chemical weapon concern, paints a completely different story of how Britain and America had been eyeing Syria since 2007. The article which has been written by bestselling author and investigative journalist, Dr. Nafeez Ahmed, claims that dismantling governments in Middle East was a well-planned foreign strategy that America adopted weeks after the 9/11 attacks. The story which quotes retired NATO Secretary, General Wesley Clark, opines that the 9/11 attacks were used as a justification for having an increased control over the vast oil and natural gas reserves of the region. What it essentially means is that Syria might have been on the US target list for a long time, and the recent chemical attacks have just provided an opportunity to masquerade the military intervention as a moral war against a brutal dictator.
Another important question that remains to be answered is the futility of the so-called ‘limited attack’ on Syria. Even if the Assad government is deposed, will the new government formed by the rebels augur well for the region? I guess the experiences of Libya and Egypt are still fresh in minds so we don’t need to revisit history here. By substituting one brutal government with another, isn’t the West trying to create a Frankenstein monster who will only come back to haunt its creator like a certain Osama Bin Laden did a decade ago? These are important questions that our affable President should answer before he works on account of his moral obligations some 10,000 miles away. It is not as if the President himself is not aware of what he is getting into; the fact of the matter is that people at the top level are always aware about the real purpose of every war this great country has involved itself in. But, to the naïve and unassuming public, sometimes it is weapons of mass destruction, and sometimes, it is retaliation against chemical weapons.
Last, but not the least, by interfering in the Syrian crisis, the US might inadvertently be setting the stage for a full-scaled global war. There are a lot of countries that aren’t too bemused by America’s foreign policy after September 11, 2001. Iran, which is a close ally of Syria, might not sit quietly if the latter is attacked by a country they love to hate. Iran, Israel, and Hezbollah are names that could get involved in case the US decides to go ahead with the limited strikes. However, one country that will be cheering the US forces from the sidelines is America’s old ally – Saudi Arabia. If reports are to be believed, it is because of the crucial financial and military support that Saudi Arabia is providing to the rebels that has made it difficult for Syrian military to contain them. And if a report published in MintPress News, is to be believed, it was Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who provided the chemical weapons to rebels. The report by esteemed journalist Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, states that mishandling of the weapons supplied by the Saudi Prince led to the chemical weapons incident – the same incident which Obama is using as a justification to attack Syria in the next couple of days.