by Thomas Meehan
There is much talk about influence in media. We are warned to be on our guard against hard to detect suggestions delivered from all sides, as in “fake news.” Fair enough, but what happens when a campaign of influence is on the verge of failure? What are the manipulators to do?
We are about to see, perhaps in a matter of hours, as President Trump appears to have swallowed the latest Syrian gas attack allegations. So, on the verge of Assad’s victory over his various foes, one set of influencers treat us to yet another dubious, unverifiable account of his use of chemical weapons. Subtlety is out the window. This will be the last chance for the influencers to call forth what they want. It seems that they want to keep the civil war going.
The Assad-Russian-Iranian alliance is in control now. There are other questions, such as what becomes of the Kurdish areas and the status of the Eastern zone. The Assad regime, along with the Russians and Iranians will be making those decisions now. There is no way to change this reality around the edges. Any attempt to do so would make things even worse for the Syrian people.
Back to the “gas attack.” Let us suppose that it is true. Let us suppose that the Syrians, with the help of the Russians, decided to deploy illegal assets to kill several dozen people in a neighborhood of a city, Douma, in open rebellion against the Syrian government. Let us further suppose that they decide to do this on the cusp of victory, when the population and land in question will soon be at their disposal. Would we not also have to infer that they are mad? And if they are mad, how did they manage to win the civil war?
The same people reporting in depth about an alleged deadly Russian nerve agent, Sarin, in the Skripal case assert that the Syrians are reduced to using WWI era agents now, namely Chlorine gas. But Chlorine is ubiquitous, even in undeveloped counties. From household cleansers to swimming pool water treatment, we all use Chlorine every day. People in the US are regularly killed by Chlorine tanker car upsets along our railway lines. The release of Chlorine under bombing conditions is therefore to be expected.
Will President Trump allow the influencers’ macabre imagery to overwhelm his judgment? We will know shortly. But this we must remember. The Syrian bloodbath, now winding down, is in large part the responsibility of those influencers who are now baying for further US and NATO action. Blood stains the hands of all those who took sides and kept the war going. Neo-cons and Neo-liberals, the Israelis and the Turks, are all happy to meddle in Syria’s agony until the last Syrian dies. None of them give a fig about the welfare of the Syrian people, for all their posturing about democracy and human rights. They are all engaged in the great game to control the Middle East. Yet if our military follies over the last two decades teach us anything, it is that no one can control the Middle East and that it is pointless to even try. Let the Russian-Syrian-Iranian Axis commence! If the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Israelis want to contend for this war torn region, by all means let them.
THOMAS O. MEEHAN is a freelance writer and a former government Senior Research Analyst and Inspector. He lives in Bucks County PA and he blogs at Odysseus On the Rocks