American Presidents often conduct military operations more for their domestic electorates than against external enemies. The recent Tomahawk missile volley fired at a Syrian military base on the orders of President Donald Trump fits squarely in that category. Pushed to the wall by a continuous barrage of accusations from the mainstream media and the bi-partisan establishment, the US Commander-in-Chief took a pot-shot at Assad’s army in order to disarm his critics at home by showing that he is neither Putin’s ally nor a peacenik, thus vying to reposition himself in the ruling globalist mainstream, while distancing himself from his isolationist supporters. The Pentagon informed the Russians two hours ahead and they in turn informed the Syrians to avoid serious damage on the National Army.
By throwing a bone to those who are baying for blood inside the Beltway, Trump, however, may have earned only a short respite from his foes, who immediately demanded a full-fledged campaign to eliminate Assad and overthrow the Syrian government. Leaders of the lynching party such as Senators John McCain and Lindsay Graham make no secret of their resolve to push the US into yet another war in West Asia, which they hope to pursue all the way to Tehran. They saw the missile strike as the opening salvo for this new crusade, but Trump and some of his top advisers, according to inside sources, do not really believe that the Syrian army was responsible for the chemical atrocity in Khan Sheykun, or at least have no evidence for that claim. By now, many reliable analysts, also from the US (see the written assessment authored by chemical weapons expert from MIT, Professor Theodore Postol) have come to the conclusion that the version officially stated by Vladimir Putin, namely that it was a “false flag” attack intended to con the West into retaliating against the Baathist state, is much more believable.
The major source for the chemical attack story is the highly suspect “White Helmets”, widely seen as a PR operation conducted by Jabhat Al Nusra, aka Al Qaeda in Syria, which now goes by the alias of Jabhat Fateh al Sham (Front for the Conquest of the Levant).
Many still remember the statement by GOP strategist Karl Rove that the US is now “an empire. “We create our own reality—and while you are studying that reality…we’ll act again creating other realities,” leaving no time for others to investigate what it claims to be true. This method was noticed in the aftermath of the 911 attacks and was used time and again in the context of the Iraqi, Lybian and Syrian operations. A blitz of “unquestionable” information is unleashed in the media sphere and sceptics are quickly discredited as enemies or dupes. The US government often claims that proofs are classified, but demands uncritical support in order to block opposition to what it wishes to do, which generally entails military operations in violation of international law.
Yet there are unpredictable consequences of this policy, particularly when the President and the other branches of government are not on the same page. Reports from Moscow are that Rex Tillerson was sent by his boss to the Kremlin to mend fences with Vladimir Putin by explaining an internal situation, with which Russian diplomats were already familiar. It is said that some of the 59 missiles fired while Trump was eating chocolate cake with the Chinese President were knocked out by Russian electronic counter-measures, which would explain why only 23 hit any targets at all.
Tillerson signified to British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson that he should not go to Russia. The American Secretary of State would be the sole spokesman for the western alliance, as Trump fears British interference, given that London and Paris have their own agendas in Syria. Even Tillerson’s meeting with Putin was not in the official schedule so as to keep the press corps in the dark.
Behind closed doors, the Secretary of State is said to have told the Russians that Trump was trying to rid himself of his stigma as the “man of the Kremlin”, by taking a tough stand on Syria and on North Korea at the time when the London Guardian had brought out allegations that the British intelligence agencies first spotted connections between Trump’s campaign staff and agents of Moscow. Tillerson also sought Russia’s help in the US diplomatic joust with China, which he pointed out, poses the biggest threat to the US, but also in the long run to Russia. An agreement appears to have been reached to resume some collaboration between the two nuclear superpowers under the cover of official hostility. Such a tacit pact would not survive if it came to light in the toxic climate of Russophobia that has settled on the Anglo-Saxon establishment. It was agreed that Russia would veto the latest US resolution at the UN General Assembly and that conversely the US would evade a full investigation into the most recent chemical attack, whose conclusions might lead to considerable embarrassment for Washington DC and its confederates, especially Saudi Arabia and Turkey, which have channelled chemical weapons to the rebel groups they trained and supported since their inception. Indeed, so far the inspectors of the Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have not found any traces of the banned substances in the ten Syrian government sites they have visited, confirming that Damascus indeed destroyed its stocks according to the terms of the 2013 agreement, to which the US was a party along with Russia.
It is anybody’s guess whether this clandestine arrangement, attempted by a beleaguered President, with the help of his Russophile Foreign Secretary, will withstand ongoing pressures. Trump cannot trust his inner family circle either, as his son-in-law Jared Kushner acts as a conduit for hardline Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party. Kushner made the decisive push to convince Trump to bomb Syria, with the support of his devoted wife Ivanka, in the expectation that one thing leading to another, the Israeli “Clean Break” agenda in the Near East would eventually be fulfilled. The Israeli right wingers argue that Assad’s Syria has never been amenable to making peace and forsaking the occupied Golan Heights and they have hence repeatedly helped hardline Islamist rebels against the Syrian regime, just as Israel in the past pushed the US to occupy Iraq and eliminate Saddam as payback for his support to the Palestinians.
The government in Tell Aviv fears a final victory by Assad with Iranian and Russian support, knowing that Syrians will eventually like to take revenge for the attacks that the Israeli Special Forces and aviation have carried out against them during the last seven years. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar are equally afraid of the prospect of defeat for their Islamist proxies in Syria at the hands of the Syrian Arab Army, the Iranian forces and the Hezbollah. Those Arab countries and Israel have numerous high level agents and lobbyists in the US government and in European capitals and will try everything to sabotage the suspected Trump-Putin entente. Desperate to convince Congress and those not in his inner circle of the President’s utter disgust with Assad, his spokesman Sean Spicer went too far and compared unfavourably the Syrian President with Hitler, inadvertently throwing doubt on the existence of gas chambers and upsetting both the Jewish lobby and the Germans. In the western playbook, Assad is very very bad, but Hitler must remain the “baddest” dictator in human history and claiming that anyone else is worse than him, falls under the axe of the law.