The American Eagle and The Lion of Damascus

It fits all too well into the Western narrative that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the evil, autocratic and innocent-murdering tyrannical dictator, ordered chemical attacks on his own poor, defenseless people. The United States repeatedly claims that it wants to install democracy in the nation and free the people of Syria from tyranny. In reality, the United States seeks to promote its own agenda in Syria, as it has in countless other nations, often defending the most autocratic and despotic rulers in the world. Additionally, it is likely that the August 21 chemical attacks in Damascus that killed more than 1,500 civilians and have been the subject of so much international debate and furor, were in fact carried out by the rebels themselves, not Assad’s government.

This past summer, the White House was quick to point fingers at Assad after United Nations data revealed that chemical weapons were used in the Syrian Civil War, which President Barack Obama had previously stated to be a compelling reason for military intervention in Syria. This, of course, works in the United States’s favor, as the nation has repeatedly tried and failed to seize on the opportunity to overthrow the Assad regime presented by the 2011 Arab Spring. For decades Syria has been the United States’s biggest problem in the region, an autocracy that does not take orders from Washington, will not sign peace deals with Israel and supports the resistance against it (Hezbollah and Hamas) and allies itself with Russia. Now, with the accusations over chemical weapons, the United States’s pretense of seeking to “liberate” the nation finally has some legitimate backing.

Recent evidence, however, has shown that the chemical attacks may have in fact been the work of rebel soldiers. A September 18 “Guardian” article reported that Russia will soon provide evidence to the United Nations Security Council proving that rebel forces were responsible for the August 21 attacks, based on information about the unusually low quality of the chemical equipment used. Additionally, according to a September 11 “WorldDailyNet article” and corroborated by a September 17 “Russia Today” article, the National Ground Intelligence Center (the intelligence branch of the United States military) published classified reports in August confirming that rebel soldiers possess sarin, the chemical weapon of greatest concern.

Finally, the Center on Research for Globalization, an independent Canadian research organization, published an article on August 31 entitled “Syrian Rebels Admit to Being Behind Chemical Weapons Attack,” containing written confessions by rebels of their mishandling of Saudi-provided chemical weapons that led to the Damascus attacks. Similar information was leaked by rebels to “Associated Press” reporter Dale Gavlak. Considering the situation from Syria’s point of view, no government, especially one that has so adamantly denied repeated international accusations over chemical weapons, would use such weapons against their own people in the presence of United Nations officials. The rebels want the United States to attack Syria because, quite simply, they’re losing.

When the United States and the international community blamed the chemical attacks on Assad, it created a pretext for foreign intervention in Syria. The West has tried every trick in the book to overthrow Assad in the past several years, and this is its final opportunity. It is not about chemical weapons: only 40 years ago did the United States ruthlessly spray millions of people with agent orange in Vietnam, 25 years ago supported Saddam’s gassing of the Iranians and Kurds, and less than 10 years ago used white phosphorus over Fallujah. It is about the United States accomplishing a goal that it has struggled to fulfill for years.

The recent Russian-American arms deal, which calls for the removal or destruction of all chemical weapons by mid-2014, is indeed yet another political victory for Syria because it averts international military intervention. To reiterate, it might seem as though, in this moment of volatile crisis that has escalated into civil war, that Syria is falling apart. The tree is burning, so to speak. But how about the forest? Syria’s interests, allies and lifelines are very healthy and will surely put the fire out. Then, all that will be left is to wait for them to make war on their own terms, a conflict in which the United States will find itself truly in danger.