Tuesday August 27, 2013
photo: U.S. Embassy Jakarta, Indonesia
Everyone is wondering who is Ben Rhodes, a 30-something who ascended from literally nowhere to be what seems a main driving force behind Obama's foreign policy. He is credited with convincing the president to embrace the Arab Spring, convincing the president to bomb Libya, and, now, convincing the president to start yet another war, this time against Syria.
Who is he? How did a 24-year old aspiring fiction-writer in 2002 suddenly become one of the drafters of not only the 9/11 Commission report but also the Iraq Study Group Report? Then move on to Obama's presidential campaign as a speechwriter and then to Deputy National Security Advisor, from where he announced the beginning of a US war on Syria while the president met with supporters in the East Room of the White House? Those familiar with Washington know that such miraculous ascents rarely happen on their own and are equally rarely the result of pure, raw talent.
After investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria, UN Human Rights commission member Carla Del Ponte says that testimony from victims and medical staff indicate that it was rebel forces and not the Syrian government that had used sarin gas.
Said Del Ponte:
"Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities."
Of course anyone whose brain fired on more than one cylinder should have questioned why the Syrian government would use in such a limited and militarily insignificant way the one weapon it knew would likely bring on a US and NATO Libya-style intervention. It made no sense at all for the Syrian government to use "just a little" sarin -- not enough to do more than kill a few people, nothing to alter the course of the war -- knowing about "red lines" and a US/Saudi/Qatari/Israeli/Turk bloodlust to invade.
For the second day in a row, the Israeli government is reported to have bombed Syria -- this time near Damascus -- according to reporting by the Washington Post.
As the Washington Post -- itself deeply in the ideological pockets of the left-neocons -- concludes, this is Israel's response to American skepticism over its lurid tales, without evidence, of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government:
Washington is scrambling to apply a fig leaf to its program of covertly and overtly arming the armed rebels in Syria, trying to convince the increasingly skeptical that it can somehow thread the needle and ensure that sophisticated weapons and CIA training in Jordan will only benefit non-jihadist insurgents. Meanwhile, it has become painfully obvious that the Islamists are the only effective fighters in Syria, and most of them are not even Syrian but rather “have beard will travel” jihadis from such “Arab Spring” success stories as Tunisia.
Worse, the last real lie about Syria has also become unraveled: the endlessly repeated maxim that the bloody two year battle in Syria only became bloody after the government forces fired on peaceful protesters thus forcing them to take up arms.
As we see in this fascinating and critically important recent piece in the Daily Beast, this is the lie upon which the entire US support for the insurrection is based. But there was no “Arab Spring” in Syria. It had in fact been well planned in advance. The peaceful revolt turned violent may have been a tiny part of the story, but the real story was something completely different.