Chemical Watershed: Momentum Shifts again in Syrian Civil War (5)

Syrian demonstrators protesting global inaction in the face of violence in the country and the use of chemical weapons there. The protest took place in front of the Russian consulate in Istanbul on Aug. 23.

The US has stepped back from an immediate response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria on Aug. 21. But Washington continues to profess certainty that Syrian autocrat Bashar Assad is behind the attack. The situation on the ground provides clues as well.

Two and a half years after the beginning of the uprising, Damascus has become an eerily empty city. The streets were deserted last Friday evening in the remaining regime-controlled districts — from Bab Tuma in the east to Mezzeh in the west — where there is still electricity, running water and phone service.

The Syrian capital was bracing itself for the worst. Last Thursday alone, over 10,000 people reportedly fled across the border into Lebanon, and hundreds of families of soldiers have left their apartments.

The headquarters of the intelligence agencies had been largely vacated and, according to one guard on duty, nearly all Alawite officers and generals had headed for the port city of Tartus and the surrounding area.

And Mount Kassioun, which overlooks the city and has been used by the 4th division to shell rebel positions in the suburbs, was said to have been completely evacuated. Instead, artillery had been deployed in residential districts and aimed at the mountain amid growing fears that the rebels could take the stronghold.

Already last Wednesday, the army had ammunition transferred to the National Museum, while the most precious exhibits have apparently been moved to the basement of the central bank. Local witnesses said that tanks had been dispatched from the international airport to surrounding villages.


See Also:

#1 — Obama’s politicizing national security

#2 — Israel president backs Obama on Syria

#3 — President ‘Present’

#4 — Now What?

#5 — Obama Indicts Obama

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  • beentheredonethat

    More from the ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ files…….the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted to approve Obama’s plan to strike Syria. But the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (that’d be the guy tasked with executing the strike) stated that he doesn’t know what the precise goal is.

    Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey couldn’t answer what exactly the U.S. was seeking in Syria Tuesday during questioning from Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) about a resolution authorizing military action there:

    DEMPSEY: The answer to whether I support additional support for the moderate opposition is yes.

    CORKER: And this authorization will support those activities in addition to responding to the weapons of mass destruction.

    DEMPSEY: I don’t know how the resolution will evolve, but I support –

    CORKER: What you’re seeking. What is it you’re seeking?

    DEMPSEY: I can’t answer that, what we’re seeking.

  • beentheredonethat

    “President Obama said in Sweden today that he personally “didn’t set a red line” on Syria”

    Nope. Wasn’t me. I didn’t say that. Somebody else’s fault. OMG can you believe this guy? A pathological liar and nobody ever calls him on it besides people like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly and then they get labelled haters and racists. Unflippin believable……

  • FredR

    Quote: “According to experts in Western governments, the most compelling piece of evidence [that Assad used chemical weapons] is that the regime is the only power in the region that has the required stocks of poison gas along with the necessary rocket launchers.”

    Well, all right then. That’s about all the pretext that was required to invade Iraq. So where are the howls of outrage from the usual suspects? Why is there instead a more reasoned discourse that intervening in a civil war where there is no clear side to support is a recipe for disaster?

    There’s certainly no lesson learned here by either the White House of the MSM – merely empty political posturing that may – or may not – end up in a useless display of military might.

    If anyone is learning anything, it is dictators and strong-men world-wide who are realizing that Obama’s “red line” is backed by a lot of yellow. Nothing good will come of America’s blunders in the Middle East. Not if the US does intervene, not if the US stays out.

    Nice job, Mr. President.

  • beentheredonethat

    “It’s a Muslim problem — they can fix it. We can’t.”

    Agreed. Note that some GOPs with an expired ‘best before date’ like John McCain were calling for Gadaffi’s removal then exactly as they are calling for Assad’s removal today. We did and look how well that worked out. Apply this advice to the Syrian issue and think about these words for a few minutes.

    A ‘Persian’ (of all places) proverb…..”Use your enemy’s hand to catch a snake.”

  • Jack

    According to Obama the world should immediately come down on Assad “like the hammers of hell” and kick his sorry ass to hell and gone. That wasn’t what he was saying during the Bush era (which is a whole other story) and in light of his many decisions since he took power it would appear he once again, this very day, is “scwewing up”. Tomorrow at noon I will post a column with additional sub-links I found today which explains why I say that.

    “Now” — to be clear — and as Donald Rumsfeld explained on Fox News this morning, being president is a tough job and I agree with him as far as he went but the sorry truth as I see it is that Obama is working far above his pay grade and has no comprehension of what he is about. Violence in the Middle East is coming to a “slow boil” and if I were to create a cartoon it would depict him sitting in a pot of steaming water as a frog, neither understanding the danger nor caring.

    Probably there are many reasons why that is but I suspect it has much to do with the “wisdom” of his close advisor’s who heavily influence him and who completely discount the advice of the many knowledgeable resources he has available which he COULD rely on.

    This is truth.

    The Middle East (read Muslim’s) are largely uneducated and there is a reason for that. Most cannot read or write. They get their news from a local mosque every Friday from preachers who have no more understanding of world affairs than does (apparently) Obama. And so the mayhem continues as one Muslim sect kills another in a fight for the spoils of war (woe betide any other religion who unwittingly gets caught up in the brawl).

    In my view the West should remain out of this fight or else (another choice) go in and confiscate it all. The latter choice is not “doable” because there is no will at the moment but here’s my point.

    Until all citizens in Muslim countries can read and write, therefore understanding their situation and taking power (that will take at least 50 years) we have no choice but to back away. They made this “shit house” they live in and are satisfied with their religion and way of life. Far be it from me to try dissuade any of them of their dream as they fight it out. Afghanistan and Iraq have taught us that and it is clear we cannot help them or stop the violence

    My View: “Let them go”. I see no other choice because we have tried at heavy cost in blood and treasure and we have failed to install democracy which they neither hear the message or care. It’s a Muslim problem — they can fix it. We can’t and I seriously doubt they know or care. It’s all about the “loot”. Syria included.

    Point: We tried and the path forward is clear.

    “You broke it — you fix it!”

    Not our problem — theirs — and I don’t care about this lazy but highly violent religion they adhere to. Unless of course they cause us a problem.

    In that case all “rules” from “wherever” are off the table.


    Kerry — “Hey, the Arabs will pay the bill“. And who pays the bill for the killed and injured?

    I cannot begin to express my revulsion for this seriously stupid administration.

    What a “fuck’in idiot”.


  • beentheredonethat

    A thing of beauty. A daily creeping barrage on the cancerous theories, practises and egos of America’s domestic enemies including their allies in the current battle in the form of the racists, race hustlers and socialist progressives. The messenger? Their mortal enemy called ‘Reality’. Well on second thought, probably not so much. Some have abandoned ship (publicly) and are no doubt hunkered down this very minute in their mother’s basements furiously printing up their ‘Hillary for 2016’ posters and practising screaming their next battle cry ‘Conservatives Hate Women’! into their pillows every night. What a hellova way to go through life.