[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] A [/yt_dropcap] suspected chemical attack occurs in Syria killing 72 people including 11 children. More than 550 people get injured in the attack. ‘Beautiful babies were slaughtered. That is unacceptable’ says Trump. Immediately, he launches an attack on Syria as some sort of a protest against the regime using chemical weapons and as a protest against the innocent children getting killed. So what effect did the Tomahawk missiles have?
This killed many people including nine civilians and four children. What about the four children who died due to the missiles? Who will lament for these beautiful babies who have died? First of all, how did Trump conclude that Assad was the perpetrator in this chemical attack? Not a shred of evidence has been provided to either the American people or the Congress. Yet everyone seems to be happy about Trump’s attack on Syria. They are convinced that it was Assad without any concrete evidence for the same. As for the attack, there are three possibilities.
Assad did not carry out the attack. He had zero motive for that. Even in order for any crime to be committed, a motive has to be there. Assad was gaining in the war. He took back a lot of territory from the rebels. Added to that, very importantly, the US, for the first time since the start of the war, had declared that removing Assad was no longer a goal. So why would he want to risk everything by launching a chemical weapons attack? He had all the reasons to avoid using chemical weapons.
What if this attack had been a ‘false flag attack’ done by the rebels? UN’s senior official Del Ponte has mentioned in the past that the rebels have used Sarin in the past. The rebels had all the motive to commit such an attack. They were losing the war. For the first time since the war had started, Russia and America had started speaking in one voice saying that the staying of Assad was acceptable to them. All that they had to do was to carry out a false flag attack and let Assad take the blame. If Assad had to commit this, either he had to be most stupid person or he had to be taking Ganja when he took such a decision. Neither is he stupid nor is there any evidence for the latter too.
That was scenario 1. Now let’s look at scenario 2. Just because the rebels are in possession of the chemical weapons does not mean that Assad could not have carried out the attack. What if Assad had carried out those attacks? There are contradictions in Russia’s and Assad’s claims. Russia initially said that Syrian aircraft carried out the raid. However they claimed that the chemicals were part of a terrorist (meaning rebel groups) stockpile that hit the ground during the course of the attack. Later on Assad went on air claiming that the attack did not take place at all and he doubted whether the video was genuine. On one hand, Russia is saying that the attack did take place but the stockpile got released and that was the reason for the attack. On the other hand, Assad has gone on record saying that the attack never took place. Clearly, Russia and Syria are contradicting each other. There is more to it than meets the eye.
What if both the scenarios were false? Not many have discussed a third scenario. What if some officer in Assad’s regime, disgruntled with Assad or America, or for any other reason, carried out the attack without getting Assad’s nod? In this scenario, Assad would be forced to deny the attack because admitting to the attacks would mean admitting to having chemical weapons. It would also mean that he does not have full control over his army. Also, one notable point is that the vehemence with which Assad denied any responsibility for the bombing attack in Aleppo did not match the somewhat mute denial of any responsibility towards the chemical attack.
Did Trump even think about these possible scenarios? Everyone is talking about the motives of Assad. But no one is talking about the motives of Trump in launching the tomahawk missiles. Why did Trump do that? That Trump was moved by the videos/pictures of the children dying a slow and painful could be true. No doubts the pictures.videos were horrifying and would have moved any human being. But surely, he would not have taken a decision to attack another country based on these pictures. Without a proper investigation by a neutral agency like the UN or the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), when the situation is so complicated as was pointed above, how could he do that?
Clearly, there seems to be two motivations. One was his tendency to react impulsively and immediately to any slights/insults. That could be seen from his twitter attacks to each and every comment/remark which he considered as an insult. He was somehow convinced, mainly by the war-mongering Washington establishment, that it was Assad who did it. Just after a few days after he (the US) declared indirectly that Assad can stay, how can Assad do this to him? He (Trump) will be the one ending up with egg on his face.
Secondly and equally importantly, Trump went weak in his knees. Allegations about his campaign team having connections with Russia were filling up the media. Michael Flynn had to leave. There were allegations against Jeff Sessions. Investigations were going on left, right and centre over Trump’s alleged connections with Russia. How could he get away from all these? Pat came the idea. He used the Syria bombing as a pivot from the Russia connections. It seems to have had its effect.
So what about the subsequent bombing that happened in Aleppo a few days after the chemical attack? Around 126 people were killed including around 70 children. This attack, in all probability, was carried out by the rebels. This convoy was carrying around 5000 people, including civilians and several hundred pro-government fighters. This was part of an agreement between the government and the insurgents. It was a cowardly attack because it was done against fleeing civilians. Around 70 children died. Yet Ivanka Trump did not cry out “Oh Daddy, it is horrible. You’ve gotta do something!!!” Donald Trump did not give out any statements lamenting about beautiful babies dying. While all in the mainstream media went gaga about the Trump administration’s strikes on Syria, hardly anyone mentioned the second bomb attack on the civilians. That is because it was the rebels groups who are believed to have done it and not Assad.
Let’s have a look at a schedule of the CNN programs
07.00 – 09.00 – A special program on Trump’s connections with Russia
09.00 – 11.00 – A special program on Russia’s special connections with Trump
11.00 – 13.00 – Don Lemon’s interview with US Political Analysts on Trump propaganda machine and Russia
13.00-15.00 – Kate Bolduan special program on ‘How Russia meddled in the US elections’
15.00-17.00 – Jake Tapper anchors – ‘Did Russia influence the US elections’
17.00-19.00 – Anderson Cooper hosts the special episode ‘Trump’s business interests in Russia’
19.00-23.00 – A Fareed Zakaria special – ‘How Trump’s close relations with Putin is dangerous to America’
From 23.00 – Repeat of the same cycle
Penultimately, Trump had the vision to see that a better relationship with Russia could have made things better for the US. Sadly, he lacked the courage to implement it……..
Until clear evidence emerges about the chemical attack, one should remember what is happening in Syria is not a fight between The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. What is happening is a fight between The Bad, The Uglier and the Ugliest. Neither For a Fistful of Dollars or maybe even For a Few Dollars More will this writer say that Syria should get into the hands of The Uglier (al Qaeda) or The Ugliest (ISIS) !
Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author
Venezuelan refugee crisis and how it is altering the surrounding regions
Venezuela’s migration crisis has been in the news lately and recent UN polls show that nearly 2.3 million have already migrated from their homeland over the past few years. However, other estimates show a figure closer to four million Venezuelan immigrants.
This crisis is rapidly sinking its claws in the neighbouring countries and if the amount of people migrating keeps increasing, it might become the worst man-made disasters since the First and Second World Wars after the Syrian refugee crisis. The Syrian crisis gave birth to more than six million refugees, and although the number here is still around half of that toll, the Venezuelan crisis doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The inflation over there is nearly a million percent – a number so absurd that the common people around the world are not able to even grasp the sheer magnitude of the situations developing every day in this country. The minimum monthly wage is a few American dollars, putting essentials like food – particularly rations like chicken – into the category of luxurious items. The economy has shrunk by half in five years. To explain the extent of this downfall, Girish Gupta – founder of Data Drum and former investigative, multimedia journalist in Venezuela/LatAm – tweeted: If you’d bought a million dollars in Venezuela’s local currency when President Nicolás Maduro came to power in 2013, it’d now be worth $3.40. Diseases that were once overcome – like measles and diphtheria – are making a comeback. Infant mortality rates are going up while approximately 1.3 million refugees who have already escaped Venezuela were suffering from malnourishment (according to UN officials).
However, these are not the last of the Venezuelans’ problems; the nations to whom the refugees sought to escape to are closing their doors on their faces – literally. Sunday saw Ecuador closing border crossings with Colombia to people who don’t have passports. This was seen as a certain way to reduce the bulk of refugees from entering other countries as passports are fairly difficult to obtain amidst the economical and political chaos. Jonnayker Lien, a migrant standing outside the Peruvian border with his entire family said, “Imagine people like us who have sold everything, down to our beds, to come here, and they close the door on us. We don’t know where to sleep, and we don’t have money to go back.” Crisis broke out in the town of Pacaraima, north Brazil, after local throngs started struggling against the refugees and pushed them back to the border. Already a penurious town, the locals resent sharing their remaining resources with these migrants. However, even a strong military force could not stop these migrants from coming into Brazil. Peru had twenty thousand migrants arriving in the past week.
An emergency regional summit has been called by officials from Ecuador where Venezuela and its neighbours could deal with the crisis. Yukiko Iriyama, a representative in Colombia for the U.N. refugee agency said, “The capacity of the region is overwhelmed. The magnitude of the situation really requires a regional comprehensive approach.” The recently implemented passport checks by Peru and Ecuador aimed to reduce the flow of refugees into the countries. However, all it did was reduce the legal way of entering into these nations and increased the illegal border crossings. To deal with this disaster and the refugee predicament, representatives from Colombia, Ecuador and Peru will meet in Bogota next week. Christian Kruger, the head of Colombia’s migration authoritysaid in a statement, “The exodus of Venezuelan citizens is not a problem exclusive to Colombia, Peru, Ecuador or a single country. This is a regional problem and as such we must address it. Demanding passports from a nation that does not have them and whose government does not facilitate the issuance of this document is to encourage irregularity.” Peru is also calling a meeting at an individual level of the permanent council of the Organization of American States to discuss the migration.
The toll of migrants entering Colombia is around a million in fifteen months but nations like Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru are also receiving these refugees. Low skilled Venezuelans have flooded some Latin American job markets to find work and send money back home. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told Colombian Foreign Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo that he will set up a UN team that will respond to the crisis. UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that Guterres “told him that he would put together an internal coordination mechanism to make sure that the UN regional response is well coordinated.” “This is something that is not uncommon in these types of crises,” he added. Dany Bahar of the Brookings Institution suggested declaring this as a refugee crisis in order to seek help, saying, “It is up to the United Nations, together with the Organization of American States, to step up and recognize this problem as a refugee crisis so that the world can turn the proper attention to it and provide solutions.” He also added that none of the nations in the regionhave taken the initiative to provide a sustainable solution to the problem.
Trump: The Symbol of America’s Isolation in the World
The president of the United States, who came to power in 2016 with the slogan of “Reviving Washington’s Power”, has become the messenger of failure and defeat of his country in the West Asian region and in the international system. The U.S. numerous military and political defeats in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Lebanon were so outstanding that there’s no way Trump can brag about his achievements in the region.
On the other hand, many Democrats in the United States, and even the traditional Republicans, have been criticizing the President’s costly and barren foreign policy in West Asia. In such a situation, Trump attempts to attribute this failure to the country’s previous administrations and condemn them over what is happening in today’s world, especially in the West Asian region, and he blames Obama for Washington’s constant and extensive failures in this area.
Besides, Trump’s other projections about the hard conditions of the U.S. in West Asia are noteworthy. In his recent remarks, Donald Trump said that if he wasn’t at top of the U.S. political and executive equations, Iran would capture the Middle East (West Asia)! This is while Islamic Republic of Iran created stability in the West Asian region, and besides, has stood against the long-term, medium-term, and short-term and destructive goals of the United States and its allies in the region.
Trump’s strategic weakness in the West Asia is an important issue which can’t be easily overlooked. Of course this strategic weakness did exist during Obama’s presidency, but the truth is that it reached its peak during Trump’s presidency. And in the future, this weakness will bring severe blows to the United States.
The fact is that the strategic calculations of the United States in the West Asia region have all failed. And many of the pre-assumptions that Washington called them “strategic propositions”, have never turned into reality for some reasons, including the vigilance of the Resistance movement in the region. This is the reason why America is so confused in confronting the equations of West Asia.
Under such circumstances, the only way before the President of the United States is to leave the region and confess to his defeat; an issue that many American analysts and strategists have noted. It shouldn’t be forgotten that in spite of his campaign slogans for stopping the military intervention in the region, the current president of the United States has intensified conflicts and created constant security crises in West Asia.
The direct, perfect, and comprehensive support of Donald Trump for takfiri terrorists reflects this fact. Trump started his support for ISIL since the beginning of his presence at the White House in early 2017, and he stood for the terrorists until the fall of ISIL in Syria. Even now, Trump is attempting to revive terrorist and takfiri groups in Iraq and Syria.
Despite passing half of his presidency, Trump has claimed that the defeat in Yemen, Syria and Iraq was Obama’s legacy. There is no doubt that Obama and his two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, played a major role in creating terrorist and takfiri groups (especially ISIL), and committed bloodshed in Syria and Iraq.
There is also little ambiguity in the strategic, operational and even tactical defeat of the Obama administration in the battlefields of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. However, Trump can’t deny his share in this defeat, and pretend as if he’s the messenger of the victory of the United States in these scenes! The fact is that Trump completed the military and political defeats of the United States in the West Asia region. Today, the United States is defeated in the battlefield, and can well see that its pieces had failed in these wars.
On the other hand, the White House has lost the political arena of the region. The failure of the United States in the Lebanese and Iraqi elections, on the one hand, and the popular support for the resistance groups in Yemen and Syria, has left Trump and his companions disappointed in the region. In such a situation, attributing the recent and ongoing defeats of the United States to the Obama administration is completely expectable, and at the same time, unacceptable!
Finally, we can see that just like Obama, George W Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan and Carter, Trump is stuck in this strategic miscalculation in the West Asian region. Undoubtedly, in his last days in power, Trump will also understand that there’s no way he can overcome this strategic weakness through Saudi and Emirati petrodollars.
However, it seems that the scope of Trump’s defeat in West Asia would be wider than the previous presidents of the United States. Undoubtedly, in the near future, Trump, John Bolton, Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley will become the symbols of failure in the US foreign policy, especially in the West Asia. In other words, the president of the United States and his companions at the White House will have to admit to defeat in the West Asian region at a great expense, and this is exactly what frightens the American authorities.
first published in our partner Tehran Times
Weather and White House Turmoil as Elections Loom
Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc as it traversed the Florida panhandle. The first Category 5 hurricane to hit the area since 1881 when records began, its 155 mph winds (only 5 mph short of Category 6) felled massive trees, blew away houses, collapsed buildings and left devastation in its wake. Relatively fast moving at 14 mph, it was soon gone continuing as a Category 3 into neighboring Georgia and then further up its northeasterly path. It seemed to signify a stamp of approval for the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on holding earth to a 1.5 degree Celsius warming issued a couple of days earlier. We are at one degree now so storms can only be expected to get worse.
In northeastern Turkey, a 300-year old stone bridge disappeared overnight. Villagers convinced it had been stolen called in the police. Further investigation concluded it had been washed away by a flash flood caused by a sudden summer thunderstorm further upstream — clearly far more intense than in the previous three centuries.
Ever more powerful hurricanes, monsoons and forest fires point to a proliferation of extreme weather events that experts relate to global warming. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration remain obdurate in climate change denial.
Thins are certainly warming up in the White House. Nikki Haley announced her resignation in an amicable meeting with the president. A staunch defender of many of Mr. Trump’s most egregious foreign policy changes, the UN Representative will be leaving at the end of the year to pursue opportunities in the private sector. So said the announcement. An astute and ambitious politician she has probably reassessed the costs versus benefits of remaining in a Trump administration. Some tout her as a future presidential candidate. Should she be successful she will be the first woman president, who also happens to be of Indian and Sikh ancestry.
The rap singer Kanye West visited the president in the Oval office. A ten-minute rant/rap praising him was followed by a hug for which Mr. West ran round the wide desk that had been seemingly cleared of all paraphernalia for the performance. He is one of the eight percent of blacks voting Republican. Sporting the Trump trademark, Make-America-Great-Again red hat, he claimed it made him Superman, his favorite superhero. And some suggested it was all further proof the place had gone insane.
A little over three weeks remain to the U.S. midterm elections on November 6th. Their proximity is evidenced not by rallies or debates rather by the barrage of negative TV ads blasting opponents with accusations of shenanigans almost unworthy of a felon. A couple of months of this and you lose any enthusiasm for voting. Perhaps it is one reason why nearly half the electorate stays home. Given such a backdrop, the furor over ‘Russian meddling’ in elections appears to be a trifle misplaced. Others call the whole business a ‘witch hunt’ and state flatly the U.S. does the same.
The old idiom, ‘put your own house in order’ is particularly apt when we realize the beginning of this affair was a Democratic National Committee email leak showing ‘the party’s leadership had worked to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign’. It resulted in the resignation of DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz.
Always fair, aboveboard elections? Not bloody likely, as the British would say. Given the rewards, it’s against human nature.
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