US Attack Will Prevent Mid East Coalition From Splintering
If the United States is so convinced that the Bashar al Assad regime used chemical weapons on the opposition in Syria, why is it not sharing the evidence with the UN, Vladimir Putin, anybody?
Putin says he will support military action against the regime if he sees clinching evidence that Assad used chemical weapons. But Barack Obama will not oblige.
It is possible that Obama is bluffing. But there is a bluff and there is a bluff. Deepawali is round the corner and there will be that audacious gambler who will keep tossing chips onto the table even if he, or she, has only one ace in his hand. But the gambler will make nonsense of the game if, on a weak hand, he keeps moving until the bank breaks and the Casino shuts down.
At this stage, the gambling metaphor fails. Now another game begins, the game of Mind over Matter. It does not matter what evidence
has. Whatever the evidence, the entire American establishment is under great
pressure to find an excuse, (OK, let it be chemical weapons) to act militarily
What could this urgency be?
Completely out of character with the
glides through diplomatic corridors with so much stealth, the frenetic
diplomatic style of the Intelligence Chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, has been
something of a vigorous Tandav. Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia
He has been darting around from capital to capital like a globule of sodium on water. Sources suggest he has been imploring
Washington to give him a
month to alter the situation on the ground inside Syria,
after which Moscow
can be brought into play towards some settlement.
He turned up in
Moscow, held Putin’s hand
and said he would sign lucrative arms deals, give him all he wanted in oil,
gas, pipelines, new hydro carbon discoveries, pricing, the works. And, the
piece de resistance, Saudis would keep Chechen extremists on a tight leash so
that the Sochi Olympic Games can be held peacefully. “We control the Chechen
All this, and more would be delivered unto
Moscow if only Moscow
co-operated on Syria and
supported Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt. And, Bandar added, all that
he was laying out on the table had America’s blessing. It was like
Mohammad (Peace Be Upon Him) claiming that whatever he said was as Allah’s
The distillate from Bandar’s exertions in
Moscow are: help us in Damascus and Cairo
and we shall give you the keys to paradise.
A revealing moment at the heated hearing in the Republican controlled House of Representatives on Tuesday was when Secretary of State, John Kerry turned to the bench behind him and pointed to “Robert Stephen Ford, our ambassador in
In form and feature, face and limb
One Ford was like the other
For folks went taking him for him
And each for one another.
I rubbed my eyes with disbelief. I could swear on oath that exactly a month ago I had seen John Kerry appoint the very same Robert Stephen Ford as the ambassador to
Cairo to replace Ambassador Anne Patterson
who had been too closely identified with Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim
What is happening is this. For the Alif Laila world of West Asia (
Americans have identified a handful of Foreign Service officers who are a cross
between Arabists and the Special Services, a poor man’s T.E. Lawrence.
When Morsi was dramatically ousted from
Ford it was who surfaced as Ambassador for the crisis. But as soon as Damascus needed urgent attention, he reverted to Damascus. There he was,
right behind Kerry at the Congressional hearing.
At the hearing, quite inadvertently, Kerry gave the game away. He blurted out another name: Gen. Salim Idris, who defected from the Syrian army last year and is now Chief of Staff of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army. He told NBC News on August 29 that the US Intelligence knows of his “sources” in Assad’s inner circle. He has links with units working on chemical weapons. Idris and other army defectors are therefore the rallying points for Western help which includes military attack so that they can expand their influence on the ground to be credible negotiators at Geneva II. Alternatively, they must excavate deep into the Baathist structure and split it. All of this is easier said than done.
But, again that overwhelming question. Why did Obama not act when the chemical weapons Red Line was crossed earlier? Kerry explained to the Congressmen, because the President had not changed his policy then.
That precisely is the point. Why has Obama changed his policy now? What is the urgency?
The urgency arouse the day the Saudis rushed in with $ 12 billion as a gift for Gen. Sisi for having toppled the Muslim Brotherhood and a Saudi-Qatar split became imminent. The Brothers are a Sunni version of the Ayatullahs in
both ideologically opposed to monarchies, a nightmare for the Saudis, jointly
or separately. Qatar, Hamas, Turkey
were a strong coalition of the Brothers focused on Syria and are now in disarray. As
it is Kerry was embarrassed at the hearing to list the “34 countries and
groups” supporting US
military action. Where has it fled, the Atlantic Alliance? “I shall give you a
written list” said Kerry, sheepishly.
A very real, regional coalition for change in
is about to splinter because of differences over Egypt. A joint military action
would be the glue to keep this coalition together.
That is why Bandar is counting his worry beads. Obama, Hamlet like, is holding aloft a scroll of the Valliant 34, like Yorick’s skull: “To bomb or not to bomb…..”
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