On the surface it may appear that the U.S. is backing down from conflict involving Syria, but the build-up to war continues, in an interesting paradox. What is really happening behind the scenes, and why is a mystery to the casual observer - all we can do is look at the facts presented. It seems undeniable that there is a build-up to war taking place as the U.S. and Russia continue to pour military into the region.
We know what is coming, but we lack the details on how and why - which may become irrelevant when one observes the big picture. What we are being told simply doesn't match with U.S. and Russian actions in the region. One has to wonder if there is more going on here than Syria.
In the first article, we see yet another interesting commentary from Zerohedge - which is rapidly becoming one of the best sites for accurate reporting and interesting analysis of the situation:
While it is unknown is the US is suddenly focusing more on non-Cyprus based air support in the aftermath of the Cypriot decisionto prohibit the launch of air strikes from its territory (just in time following a Russian agreement to restructure Cyprus debt), what is known, according to Reuters, is that while broad popular opinion is that the war drums are beating far more quietly following Obama's Saturday punt to Congress (a decision which can certainly still go either way), the US has decided to reroute CVN-68 USS Nimitz, and other ships in its strike group including four destroyers, in direction west toward the Red Sea "to help support a limited U.S. strike on Syria, if needed, defense officials said on Sunday."
The U.S. Navy Doubled Its Presence In The Eastern Mediterranean Over The Past Week, effectively adding two destroyers to the three that generally patrol the region. The five destroyers are carrying a combined load of about 200 Tomahawk missiles, officials say.
But that's not all: as reported yesterday, the US dispatched the USS San Antonio, an amphibious ship with 300 Marines and extensive communications equipment on board, to join five US destroyers already in proximity to Syria, diverting it from a previously scheduled mission that would have taken it farther west. It could serve as an afloat forward staging base, which could provide a temporary base for special operations forces, if they were needed.
Today we learn that yet another amphibious assault ship, the USS Kearsage, with yet more marines is joining in the supposedly demilitarized fray:
The USS Kearsarge, a large-deck amphibious ship that is part of a readiness group with the San Antonio, is also on the way toward the Red Sea after a port call in the United Arab Emirates, officials said. No further specific orders had been issued to the ship, they said.
So to sum up: since last week, when the entire world expected the US to attack Syria imminently, and when there were "only" 5 destroyers within striking distance, now that the sentiment is that war is far less probable, the US has an additional 4 destroyers from the Nimitz group, two marine ships, and an aircraft carrier.
De-escalation? Not really.
Perhaps this has something to do with it - going back to the fundamental driver behind it all, Saudi Arabia, the NYT reportsthat the Kingdom of Saud will hardly rest peacefully until the Assad scourge is wiped off the face of the planet... and room for one or more gas and/or oil pipelines is made below a receptive Syrian government.
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and other ships in its strike group are heading west toward the Red Sea in case they’re needed to support a U.S. attack on Syria, defense officials told Reuters Sunday.
[Exactly as we would expect]
That scent of weakness has emphatically reached Iran. Amir Mousavi, the head of Tehran’s Center for Strategic Defense Studies, told Al-Jazeera in the immediate wake of the speech that Obama is uncertain and hesitant. At around the same time, Revolutionary Guards commander Mohammad Ali Jafari boasted that “the United States is mistaken if it thinks that the reaction to a strike on Syria will be limited to Syrian territory.” This was likely part of an effort to deter members of Congress from supporting military intervention against the Assad regime for its use of chemical weapons. In an act of solidarity, meanwhile, an Iranian parliamentary delegation, led by Alaeddin Boroujerdi, who heads the Security and Foreign Policy Committee and is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, is currently on a visit to Damascus.
After constant exposure to critically important news, it begins to lose all meaning and sense of urgency. Hearing the same warnings over and over again -- especially when the status quo seems static -- can cause a certain desensitization, a resigned apathy that ignores the warnings in the wishful hope that they won't materialize.
Thus, many have become desensitized to the situation -- including those charged with ensuring that a nuclear Iran never becomes a reality.
But that reality has never been closer, as we are warned in Noah Beck's recent novel, The Last Israelis. It is our current proximity to apocalyptic war that makes Beck's doomsday warning about a nuclear Iran so compelling. If the worst comes to pass, this chilling attempt to rouse the West from its torpor could turn out to be that final, horribly prophetic alert that went unheeded.
Much of the public is conditioned by the mainstream media and government to focus on the short-term -- U.S. presidents tend to concentrate only on matters pressing during their tenure -- and rarely ever on longer-term issues or threats. Thus, a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East seems unrealistic. Add to this the fact that virtually all nations with nukes have never used them, and one can see why a certain apathy prevails when it comes to the idea of a nuclear Iran.
But Iran is different. Its Shiites leaders believe that at the end of times, a 9th-century prophet, the 12th Imam, will reappear to kill all the infidels and raise the flag of Islam in all four corners of the world. Reza Kahlili, a former CIA operative in Iran's Revolutionary Guards, reported last year on the apocalyptic statements from Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who dictates Iran's nuclear policy. Khamenei's statements, which were carried by Iranian state media, proclaimed that "The issue of Imam Mahdi is of utmost importance, and his reappearance has been clearly stated in our holy religion of Islam. We must study and remind ourselves of the end of times and Imam Mahdi's era... We must prepare the environment for the coming so that the great leader will come." Kahlili also translated Iranian news reports from last June suggesting that Iran's newly elected president, Hassan Rouhani (the so-called "moderate"), shares Khamenei's views. The reports quote Rouhani thanking the Islamic messiah for his June 15th electoral victory.
Indeed, the Islamic theocracy ruling Iran believes that apocalyptic scenarios are necessary before Islam's savior, the Mahdi, or "Hidden Imam," returns (including a prophecy that Muslims must slay all Jews before he returns); believes that death in the jihad in instant paradise for the "martyr"; believes the oft-recited Islamist sentiment that "Muslims love death as Westerners love life" -- a sentiment that has manifested itself in reality all too often by young Muslim men and women sacrificing their lives to become suicide bombs that kill Americans, Israelis, and many others.
In short, Iran has a worldview that is markedly different than the one that guides Western decision-making. Unlike nuclear-armed Western secular democracies, a nuclear Islamic supremacist regime in Iran is much more prone to use these devastating weapons. Thus, the situation is serious, is urgent, and, as the United Nations refuses to act decisively, could trigger a holocaust that sees millions of innocent people -- Israelis and Iranians alike -- wiped out overnight.
The Israeli political and security leadership is privately horrified by President Barack Obama’s 11th-hour turnaround on striking Syria — a decision he took alone, he had sent his Secretary of State John Kerry to speak out passionately and urgently in favor of military action. It is now fearful that, in the end, domestic politics or global diplomacy will ultimately lead the US to hold its fire altogether
It is worried, furthermore, at the ever-deeper perception of Obama’s America in the Middle East as weak, hesitant and confused — most especially in the view of the region’s most radical forces, notably including Bashar Assad, Hezbollah, and Iran.
And it is profoundly concerned that the president has set a precedent, in seeking an authorization from Congress that he had no legal requirement to seek — and that Congress was not loudly demanding — that may complicate, delay or even rule out credible action to thwart a challenge that dwarfs Assad’s chemical weapons capability: Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons
But privately, Israel’s silently appalled political and security leaderships have no doubt that Obama’s last-minute change of heart harms Israel’s security interests far more critically than any marginal minister’s inconvenient outburst possibly could.
But if Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, who will be hosting the G20 later this week, inserts himself into the equation, and Obama is distracted by endless machinations ostensibly designed to see Assad stripped of his chemical weapons, machinations that ultimately are sure to lead nowhere, the damage will only deepen. If there is no strike, the United States — hitherto Israel’s only dependable military ally — will be definitively perceived in these parts as a paper tiger, with dire implications for its regional interests. And for Israel.
Israel remains hopeful that, to put it bluntly, Obama’s America will yet remember that it is, well, America. The alternative, it rather seems, is something the leadership in Jerusalem finds too awful to so much as contemplate just yet.
In yet another interesting development:
[This actually may be the best and most germane article of the day]
Why is the Obama administration so determined to have the U.S. military help al-Qaeda win the civil war in Syria? Why are we being told that the U.S. has "no choice" but to help rabid jihadist terrorists that are slaughtering entire Christian villages, brutally raping Christian women and joyfully beheading Christian prisoners?
If you are a Christian, you should not want anything to do with these genocidal lunatics. Jabhat al-Nusra is a radical Sunni terror organization affiliated with al-Qaeda that is leading the fight against the Assad regime. If they win, life will be absolute hell for the approximately two million Christians in Syria and other religious minorities. According to Wikipedia, Jabhat al-Nusra intends "to create a Pan-Islamic state under sharia law and aims to reinstate the Islamic Caliphate." As you will see below, many members of the U.S. military understand this, and they absolutely do not want to fight on the side of al-Qaeda.
Not that we should be supporting Assad either. Assad is horrible. He should be rotting in prison somewhere. But just because a country has a bad leader does not mean that we have justification to attack them.
The U.S. military should only be put into action when there is a compelling national interest at stake. And getting involved in a bloody civil war between Assad and al-Qaeda does not qualify.
For the moment, we have a little bit of time to educate the American people about this because the Obama administration has decided to try to get the approval of Congress before striking Syria. Hopefully cooler heads will prevail.
Unfortunately, some members of the U.S. Congress are actually trying to push Obama into even stronger action. In fact, some Senators are now saying that they will not support military intervention in Syria unless it is a part of an "overall strategy" to remove Assad from power.
If the U.S. does try to remove Assad, it will unleash hell in the Middle East. Syria has already threatened to attack Israel if the U.S. tries to remove Assad and so has Hezbollah.
As I mentioned the other day, right now there are 70,000 Hezbollah rockets aimed at Israel.
When Hezbollah and Syria start sending rockets into the heart of Tel Aviv, Israel will respond with even greater force.
And if a single one of those rockets that land in Tel Aviv have an unconventional warhead, Israel will respond by absolutely flattening Damascus.
When I say that, what I mean is that a city of 1.7 million people will be gone permanently.
Do our politicians have any idea of the hell that they are about to unleash?
Do our leaders actually want Israel to be attacked?
Do our leaders actually want major cities in the Middle East to be completely wiped out?
Do our leaders actually want millions of precious people to die?
As I mentioned above, those serving in the U.S. military understand these things better than most people, and right now many of them are expressing a very strong desire to stay out of this conflict.
According to a tweet from U.S. Representative Justin Amash, he has heard from numerous members of the U.S. military that are urging him to vote against an attack on Syria...
Why would we want to enter a war on the side of Christian killers?
In areas of Syria that are controlled by the rebels, Christians are being treated brutally. The following is from eyewitness testimony from a Christian missionary who recently visited the region...
"The Christian residents were offered four choices: 1. renounce the ‘idolatry’ of Christianity and convert to Islam; 2. pay a heavy tribute to the Muslims for the privilege of keeping their heads and their Christian faith (this tribute is known as jizya); 3. be killed; 4. flee for their lives, leaving all their belongings behind."
Very soon, the U.S. military will be embroiled in a vicious civil war between a brutal dictator and absolutely psychotic Christian-killing jihadists.
Should American blood be spilled in such a conflict?
Of course not.
Is it worth potentially starting World War III just to teach Assad a "lesson"?
Of course not.
Hopefully this war will not happen, because if it does I fear that it is going to be very, very bloody.
The backlash began to spread on social media yesterday with numerous members of the military posting photos of themselves holding up signs stating that they would refuse to fight on the same side as Al-Qaeda in Syria. The photos went viral, with one post alone generating over 16,000 shares on Facebook.
Others have posted their photos on Twitter alongside the hashtag#IdidntJoin.
As the Obama administration prepares to present a draft resolution to lawmakers that is by no means “limited” in its scope and would in fact grease the skids for an open ended war, John Kerry and other State Department officials have signaled that Obama will simply ignore Congress if they vote no and launch the assault anyway.
This will do little to reassure a growing number of influential figures in the US military who are becoming increasingly recalcitrant about the United States becoming embroiled in yet another war in the Middle East.
The Washington Post reports that, “The Obama administration’s plan to launch a military strike against Syria is being received with serious reservations by many in the U.S. military, which is coping with the scars of two lengthy wars and a rapidly contracting budget, according to current and former officers.”
Republican Congressman Justin Amash also took to Twitter to state, “I’ve been hearing a lot from members of our Armed Forces. The message I consistently hear: Please vote no on military action against Syria.” Amash’s statement was followed by a series of tweets from military veterans who also expressed their opposition to the attack.
Business Insider’s Paul Szoldra also spoke to “sources who are either veterans or currently on active duty in the military,” and asked them if they supported military escalation in Syria.
“Most have responded with a resounding no,” writes Szoldra.
He quotes an active duty First Class Sergeant who states, “We are stretched thin, tired, and broke,” adding that the United States “(does not) need to be World Police.”
“Our involvement in Syria is so dangerous on so many levels, and the 21st century American vet is more keen to this than anybody. It boggles my mind that we are being ignored,” adds former Cpl. Jack Mandaville, a Marine Corps infantry veteran with 3 deployments to Iraq.
Not only are military personnel going public with their concerns, Politico reported that leaks of attack plans are also, “emanating from a Pentagon bureaucracy less enthusiastic about the prospect of an attack than, say, the State Department, National Security Council or Obama himself,” unauthorized disclosures that have the White House “peeved”.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Electronic Army hacked the official US Marines website and left an astounding message calling on US soldiers to join the Syrian Army in fighting Al-Qaeda (click for enlargement).