Earlier this week, the White House released a fresh warning that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was planning a chemical weapons attack and that he would pay a “heavy price” for doing so. The warning appeared to confuse a number of U.S. officials who had not been consulted before the warning was released.
As CBS reported, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said U.S. intelligence had seen activity at a specific aircraft shelter at the Shayrat airfield – the same airfield Donald Trump bombed in April of this year over unproven allegations that it was the base from which a chemical weapons attack had been launched approximately two days prior.
And what was that specific activity that the U.S. had picked up on? According to CBS:
“He [Pentagon spokesman Davis] said increased activity had been seen at Shayrat over several days, including increased aircraft activity. Davis said the evidence of preparations for a possible new chemical attack ‘became more compelling’ within [the] last 24 hours, and that it was ‘strongly suggestive of intent’ to conduct such an attack.” [emphasis added]
Well – f*#k me. The Pentagon saw increased aircraft activity at an airbase? What are the odds of that?
Not long after, the White House claimed their warning that Assad would pay a “heavy price” was successful in deterring the attack even though we now know Assad was more than likely not responsible for the most recent chemical weapons debacle in April, as recently reported by Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh. Assad was also likely not responsible for the other major attacks pinned on his military, either.
The White House’s claim of successful deterrence against Assad came moments after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Russia would respond proportionately should the U.S. strike their close ally in Syria.
And people think I’m crazy when I warn them about the impending global conflict between Russia and the United States.
Even if it is all just a mere sabre-rattling chess game to see who can emerge with the most black and white pieces of the Syrian chessboard after ISIS falls, the potential for something to go wrong is far too high for my liking.
Not to mention the lives of ordinary Syrians, who continue to be blown right off the chessboard into a statistic – a statistic nobody seems to care about. This devastating reality applies to the Syrian and Russian governments, too, for we have been told time and time again that these two parties are responsible for the majority of the casualties in Syria.
That being said, the Syrian government is defending itself from a foreign-backed insurgency and requested Russian assistance to ostensibly protect itself. The United States (and the so-called coalition it represents), on the other hand, is the only party to the Syrian conflict consistently claiming to be concerned with human rights and the mounting civilian death toll. They also claim to be fighting ISIS and continue to reiterate that they do not seek a war with the Syrian government, even as they repeatedly bomb government assets.
And yet the U.S. government reportedly killed 500 civilians in the last month of fighting in Syria – a country they have no legal justification to bomb in the first place. According to Airwars researcher Alex Hopkins, the coalition killed at least 57 women in May, alone. Some 137 children died in the last month of fighting, as well.
In the first week of fighting in Raqqa in June of this year, the U.N. warned that American airstrikes had already killed 300 civilians that same week.
These statistics reveal that the coalition’s violence is not targeted at all, as they claim; it is heavily indiscriminate (and sounds almost like a war crime). The coalition has also been using white phosphorus in densely populated areas of Syria, as well as depleted uranium.
By using the term “coalition,” it appears the blame is shared equally across the so-called parties to the U.S.-led military adventure in these war-torn Middle Eastern countries. However, the U.S. bears the brunt of these casualties. It is responsible for approximately 95 percent of all strikes in Syria. Even if their aircraft weren’t specifically involved in a particular strike, can you imagine such a strike going ahead without approval from the American military first?
It’s unlikely the majority of Americans are even aware that until June 13, the United States only had two people investigating Syrian and Iraqi casualties full time. Now, there are seven.
That’s some commitment to human rights and international law.
Since Trump took office, the U.S. has killed thousands of Iraqi and Syrian civilians.
Last month, the Washington D.C.-based Physicians for Social Responsibility (PRS) released a study in which they determined that the death toll from America’s post 9/11 “war on terror” could be as high as two million to date. Nafeez Ahmed, a journalist who was axed from the Guardian after criticizing Israel, found that Western-led wars have killed approximately four million civilians in Muslim-majority populations since 1990.
Remember these statistics the next time Trump warns you about a Muslim invasion of Europe and America.
Despite all of this information, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., had the confidence to tweet the following this week:
“Any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia & Iran who support him killing his own people.”
Apparently, the right to kill Syrian civilians is reserved only for the United States and its allies, who have been bombing Syrian territory since 2014, as well as arming, funding and training radical jihadists to wreak havoc across the country since the conflict began.
If the United States were actually concerned with the sheer horror of the Syrian conflict and wanted to protect civilians, it surely wouldn’t advocate more violence as it continues to do. This is reminiscent of the same violent strategies that have plagued Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Vietnam, and Korea – to name but a few of the episodes of the never-ending American-led war cycle.
Let’s not wait until Donald Trump’s next pre-emptive strike or empty allegations against the Assad government. Washington’s threats of war towards Assad alone are already serious breaches of international law in and of themselves.
If it takes body-bags of loved ones returning to the homes of America and beyond before people start to wake up and pay attention to these catastrophic developments, then so be it.
The alternative is that people wake up now and demand an end to this perpetual cycle of death and destruction, which unfortunately doesn’t seem to be on the immediate horizon.
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