The recent use of chemical weapons in Damascus is without a doubt an appalling atrocity causing untold damage to human life and creating panic in the area. There can be no doubt that this was a horrifying attack which increases the already high death toll of over 100,000 people with over 1 million people displaced so far. At this point there is no definitive evidence as to who carried out this attack.
As UN inspectors continue their investigation in Damascus, the US and her allies move closer to a military intervention into Syria. It is now being reported that the evidence of the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons has been supplied by Israeli military intelligence. Reminiscent of the Blair/Bush Weapons of Mass Destruction excuse for intervention, this convenient intelligence escalates the likelihood of a US military intervention in Syria.
The Assad Government have denied responsibility for the chemical attack pointing the finger at the US supported rebels. Russia is claiming that the rebels carried out the attack in order to set a pre-text for US intervention. The Obama administration claims that the rebels do not have access to chemical weapons.
The examination of the area by UN investigators is unlikely to provide definitive evidence. If they find against Assad the question remains to what purpose would his regime have carried out such an attack. This regime is no doubt vile in its nature but would gain little by such an escalation of violence. The Government forces have made ground in recent months while Obama has been consistently increasing his warnings about chemical warfare being a ‘red line’ that could lead to a military strike by the US. On the other hand the rebels support by the US and her allies would have an interest in US intervention to tip the balance of power in their favour.
It is hugely hypocritical by the Obama administration to attempt to play the humanitarian card here as their response to the murder of over 1,000 protesters in Egypt was met with the line the ‘US is not taking sides’. It was the US government who forced Saddam Hussein’s regime to use poison gas against Iran. Iraq was not able to manufacture poison gas. The gas was supplied by the US government. The sudden concern provides a convenient but not convincing excuse for intervention.
There is no convincing argument to suggest that an escalation of war would do less damage in the long run. In fact it would create huge instability in the area and increase the likelihood of a violent backlash. War represents a far bigger threat to the Syrian people than the threat of chemical attacks.
The US and her allies have made no attempt to broker a ceasefire because they ultimately have a vested interest in destabilizing the region in order to weaken the position of Iran in turn strengthening the US grip on the resources of the Middle East.
In a new low for the cheer-leading media none other than the war criminal Tony Blair has been dragged out from under a rock to add his voice to the clamour for war. Let us not forget the blood that this man has on his hands. His ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ pre-text for the invasion of Iraq has been largely discredited as a fabrication. Mr Blair is arguing that intervention in Syria would save the civilian population, which needs to be taken with a large bag of salt.
Ultimately the reasons for a military intervention by the US, Britain and France are not humanitarian they are about Western interests in the region. Intervention will give the US and her allies the opportunity to displace Assad and replace him with a puppet regime strengthening their own strategic position in the region while creating panic and terror for the people of Syria.
Clare Daly TD.