[Marxism] Sarin gas in Syria?

Intense Red intnsred at golgotha.net
Tue Dec 4 10:09:52 MST 2012

   It's interesting that the WSWS points out that this "news" about Assad 
perhaps using nerve gas comes on the eve of NATO's meeting to put anti-
aircraft missiles on the Turkish-Syrian border:


Washington floats chemical weapons charge as pretext for Syria buildup
By Bill Van Auken
4 December 2012

The Obama administration and the corporate media have cited unspecified 
“intelligence” about the movement of chemical weapons to issue new threats of 
direct intervention in Syria, where Washington and its allies have been 
backing so-called “rebels” in a bid to topple the regime of President Bashar 

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both made public 
statements Monday alleging a danger of Syria using chemical weapons and 
threatening US retaliation.

Appearing before a military audience at the National Defense University in 
Fort McNair, Obama declared, “I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and 
anyone who is under his command… If you make the tragic mistake of using these 
weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”

“This is a red line for the United States,” Clinton said earlier in the day 
after a meeting in Prague with Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

“I’m not going to telegraph in any specifics what we would do in the event of 
credible evidence that the Assad regime has resorted to using chemical weapons 
against their own people, but suffice it to say that we’re certainly planning to 
take action if that eventuality were to occur,” Clinton warned.

Schwarzenberg told the media that Czech troops specializing in chemical 
weapons had been sent to Jordan and were “training” with forces there.

Citing unnamed senior officials who claim to have seen unspecified intelligence 
on Syrian chemical weapons, the New York Times, CNN and other media have 
joined forces with the Obama administration in promoting the chemical weapons 
justification for another US war of aggression.

What becomes clear in examining these reports, as well as the statements from 
the administration, is that the alleged threat from Syrian “weapons of mass 
destruction” is entirely concocted. Not a single piece of hard evidence is 
cited by any government official or any media source.

In a breathless report on Monday, CNN’s Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr 
quoted an unnamed “senior US official” as describing “worrying signs” of 
supposed activity around chemical weapons sites in Syria in “the last few 

“The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the 
sensitiveness of the information discussed, declined to specify the exact 
intelligence that the United States has gathered in the past few days,” Starr 

The CNN report quotes one US official as saying that “this puts us into the 
contingency of potential US action.”

The chemical weapons story was initially broken on Sunday by the New York 
Times in a front-page article co-authored by David Sanger, the Times’ chief 
Washington correspondent, and Eric Schmitt, its national security 
correspondent. Writing that “what exactly the Syrian forces intend to do with 
the weapons remains murky,” the Times correspondents cited as their source 
unnamed “officials who have seen the intelligence from Syria.”

Syria’s Foreign Ministry categorically denied that the country’s military is 
preparing to use chemical weapons. A statement released in Damascus said that 
Syria “would not use chemical weapons—if there are any—against its own people 
under any circumstances.”

What is particularly significant in the statements of Obama and other US 
officials is the absence of any expression of concern over the Syrian military’s 
chemical weapons stockpile falling into the hands of the so-called rebels whom 
Washington is supporting.

It has become impossible to conceal the fact that the main fighting force 
challenging the Assad regime is dominated by Islamist militias, including 
forces tied to Al Qaeda, who would be prepared to use such weapons against 
civilian populations in Western Europe or the United States. That this is a 
matter of official indifference only underscores the glaring contradiction 
between the official expressions of concern and the real motives underlying the 
US intervention.

The leaks about chemical weapons were made on the eve of a NATO foreign 
ministers meeting in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday. The meeting will 
decide on Turkey’s request for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air 
missile batteries on the country’s 560-mile border with Syria.

The Turkish government has claimed that the missiles are necessary to counter 
an alleged threat of missiles with chemical warheads being fired towards its 
territory by the Syrian armed forces.

Turkey has been among the most important state sponsors of the Syrian 
insurgency, funneling arms and supplies and reportedly providing Turkish 
military officers as “advisers.” It has allowed the anti-Assad forces to use its 
territory as a base and hosted a CIA station, where US operatives have 
coordinated the provision of arms, money and intelligence to the “rebels.”

The deployment of the Patriot missiles, which both US and NATO officials have 
indicated will be approved at this week’s meeting, will mark a major turning 
point in the imperialist intervention in Syria. It will place US and NATO 
forces in direct confrontation with the Syrian military and pave the way for a 
far more open intervention.

While the missile batteries are supposedly aimed against a threat of surface-
to-surface missiles from Syria, a far more likely use is to deny Syrian 
military aircraft the ability to operate in northern Syria, effectively carving 
out a “no-fly zone” in which the US-NATO-backed “rebels” can operate with 
relative impunity. As in last year’s US-NATO intervention in Libya, such a 
development would likely prove the first step in a direct war for regime-

The claims of threats from Syrian chemical weapons also serve as a pretext for 
a direct ground invasion. As the New York Times article notes, the US and its 
allies “have long been developing contingency plans in case they decided to 
intervene in an effort to neutralize the chemical weapons, a task that the 
Pentagon estimates would require upward of 75,000 troops.”

The article also points to the Pentagon’s having “quietly sent a task force of 
more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed 
forces there to, among other things, prepare for the possibility that Syria 
would lose control of its chemical weapons.” The phrase “among other things” 
serves to mask the essential mission of this force of US special operations 
troops, which is to aid the “rebel” operations inside Syria and serve as an 
advance guard for a more direct US-NATO intervention.

Debka.com, a web site with close ties to Israeli intelligence, reported that 
last week the “rebels” had carried out an attack that destroyed a Russian-
built electronic warning radar station in southern Syria, effectively blinding 
the regime in the face of any attacks prepared by the Israeli military. 
According to a report in the Atlantic Monday, Israel has approached the 
Jordanian government with plans for air strikes on Syrian chemical weapons 
sites. Debka described the deployment of the Patriot missiles and the attacks 
on Syrian radar as representing “a coordinated military effort.”

Within just weeks of the US election, concerted preparations are underway for 
yet another war of aggression in the Middle East. The warnings about supposed 
threats from “weapons of mass destruction” are an unmistakable echo of the 
lies used to justify the catastrophic US war against Iraq a decade ago. The 
New York Times, the “newspaper of record” and voice of official liberalism, 
served as the indispensable conduit for government disinformation about non-
existent Iraqi WMD, lending credibility to the propaganda used to justify the 
unprovoked US invasion. Clearly, the same modus operandi is being employed in 

In the offing is a war with potentially far more devastating consequences than 
the eight-year US intervention in Iraq or the more than decade-long war in 
Afghanistan. In attacking Syria, US imperialism is aiming to pave the way for 
an assault on Iran in a bid to reorganize the entire region in its own 

"The economic anarchy of capitalist society as it exists today is, in my 
opinion, the real source of evil." -- Albert Einstein, 1949.

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