Sept 9, 2013
San Diego 6 News TV link: http://www.sandiego6.com/story/kimberly-dvorak-syria-conflict-20130908
Part Two San Diego 6 News: http://www.sandiego6.com/story/Kimberly_Dvorak-20130915
President Obama’s inability to persuade world leaders at the G-20 to support a military strike against Syria coupled with Americans’ war fatigue has set the stage for an Oval Office address on Tuesday. It is expected the President will make his case for America to “go it alone” with a strike against the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad. The President relies on U.S. intelligence data as confirmation the Al-Assad regime was the perpetrator in the Aug 21 “sarin gas” attack against civilians. Last week at his weekly address, the President declared, “… as commander in chief, I decided the U.S. should take military action against the Syrian regime.”
Critics of the President’s decision claim the intelligence assessment is flawed and crafted to include information the White House deems supportive of its position and disregards all exculpatory data. The document is not a consensus document prepared by the intelligence community and issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, but rather an edited version released by the White House Press Secretary.
In a memorandum addressed to President Obama, the Veteran Intelligence Professionals warn the President that “… the most reliable intelligence shows that Bashar al-Assad was NOT responsible for the chemical incident … and that British intelligence officials also know this.”
Other skeptics of the Obama administration’s demand for a military strike in Syria, have stepped forward, including the Former NATO Commander for the Kosovo air campaign, Colonel Douglas MacGregor, U.S. Army (ret) who says:
“We have no interest in any side being the victor, but we have spent the last 12 years trying to kill the same people Mr. Assad is currently fighting and then on a regional level you have the larger war with Iran on the one side and Saudi Arabia and Turkey on the other—or the Sunni/Shia War.”
So will President Obama change the minds of 75 percent of Americans opposed to war, or will he allow Russia’s class clown, President Putin, to persuade al-Assad to turn over his chemical weapons to international control to avert a U.S. strike. Will President Obama who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples” opt for war while Vladimir Putin speaks for peace?
Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry calls on the U.S. to not be a spectator while 100,000’s of people are slaughtered and gassed.
Adding perspective to the discussion was the San Diego Diplomacy Council, which recently hosted two Syrian journalists, one reporting from Syria, Shadi Abu Fakher and the other, Zeni Adi, forced to report the war from Paris.
The Syrian reporters allege that more than 500,000 people have gone missing since the civil war began and 20 reporters have been killed trying to document the chemical attacks on its people. Another assumption they made surrounded the use of chemical attacks, claiming chemicals have been used more than 30 times.
The journalists’ family and friends, they report, operate under the constant threat of retaliation and arrest for reporting inside the warzone. Complicating the issue is the 20 plus factions fighting alongside the Syrian Free Army.
Al-Qaeda is one of those groups. While both the Syrian journalists admit al-Qaeda is fighting al-Assad, they explicitly state, “The foreign fighters do not share our values.” And conceding, “No one can predict the future…we have to trust the SFA will manage the transfer of power.”
However, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul said, “Even the State Department argues that there’s no military solution here that’s good for the Syrian people, and that the best path forward is a political solution.” He argues “Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 gives Congress—and Congress alone—the power to declare war. If Congress does not approve this military action, the President must abide by that decision. Too often, the debate begins and ends with an assertion that our national interest is at stake without any evidence of that assertion. The burden of proof lies with those who wish to engage in war.”
As far as the burden of proof, the President claims al-Assad gassed his own people, perhaps, but Andrew McCarthy of the National Review and PJ Media reported last week “The Iraqi military announced that it arrested five members of an al Qaeda cell that was seeking to manufacture chemical weapons, including sarin nerve gas, and plotting to conduct attacks within Iraq, Europe, and North America.” According to the Iraqi Defense Ministry’s spokesman, “the cell was plotting to use remotely-piloted model aircraft to spray some of the chemical weapons sometime next week as Shia mourners commemorated the death of Imam Kadhum.”
Also, “Turkish newspapers reported that members of an Al Nusrah Front cell were in possession of sarin gas, and were planning to conduct attacks at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana, and in Gaziantep, a city near Turkey’s border with Syria.” Furthermore, Russia has called on Turkey to share its findings in the case of Syrian rebels who were seized on the Turkish-Syrian border with a 2kg cylinder full of nerve gas sarin.
Then the revealing reporting of war correspondent, Bill Roggio, of Al-Qaeda’s well-documented quest to obtain chemical weapons and use them against the West must be taken into consideration when assigning blame for the use of sarin gas. A report from Long War Journal just three months ago documents al-Qaeda’s yearning for powerful weapons of mass destruction.
Consideration indeed, the following sources also throw a wrench into the al-Assad chemical weapon theory.
Numerous other reports explained that the Al Nusrah Front rebels were closing in on a chemical attack of their own.
McCarthy continues; “The Al Nusrah Front for the People in the Levant is al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria. Al Qaeda in Iraq formed the group, and its leader has openly sworn allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir. The Al Nusrah Front is one of al Qaeda’s most dangerous affiliates. More that 10,000 fighters are estimated to be in its ranks, and the group is said to be absorbing entire units from the so-called secular Free Syrian Army.”
The Long War Journal also reported, the Al Nusrah Front is suspected of launching a chlorine gas attack in March that killed 26 Syrians.
Amazingly, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel told a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that he doesn’t trust the Free Syrian Army/rebels, and argued that a strike on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad should not mean support for the other side. “That’s not my business to trust anybody,” Hagel said when Rep. Tom Marino, R-Penn., asked if he trusts the Syrian opposition. “Every nation, every individual, every group, responds in their own self-interest … [T]he focus is not on good guys [versus] bad guys.”
Russian President Putin weighed-in with “… icy exchanges at a (G-20) press conference, saying you will not deny that one does not really need to support the people who not only kill their enemies, but open up their bodies, eat their intestines in front of the public and cameras. Are these the people you want to support? Is it them who you want to supply with weapons? Then this probably has little relation to humanitarian values that have been preached in Europe for hundreds of years.”
To explain the players, CNN.com published a detailed piece describing the varying allegiances of the Syrian rebels. It reports the Free Syrian Army (SFA) consists of Secular Syrians who emphasize the rights of all Syrian people regardless of religious associations. The SFA generally has the support of westernized powers.
The moderate Islamists identify with the Muslim Brotherhood, who seek to replace the Secular leadership with a more hard-lined Islamic law and have conjoined with the Syrian Islamic Liberation Front.
The Jihadists “AKA” al-Qaeda joined the civil war late and ARE the reason America launched a war after 9/11/2001.
And finally, the Salafists hope to return the Islamic community to the first three generations following Mohammed’s death and abhor the West as well as any influence it may have.
Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reports that the House of Saud has funded and trained the Syrian Free Rebels the past three years. Their theory centers on the Iranian chip in the game that a loss for Assad is tantamount to depriving Iran the edge in the drive to control the “crescent.”
The Journal says Saudi Prince Bandar’s strategy would only be successful, if Obama ceases his indecisiveness, and demonstrates a strategic, sustained, and long-term approach to crushing the Assad regime. They further say the Obama administration must work with a coalition to take out the Syrian aircraft/fields/ammunition facilities, commit to the Syrian Free Army for the long haul (including money and military support), and an SFA representative replaces Bashar al-Assad.
Like Putin, Colonel MacGregor’s analysis that the (Obama) administration’s lack of objectives, strategic, operational or tactical, for any proposed military action in Syria other than somehow “punishing” the Syrian government for use of illegal munitions (chemical weapons) leads one to believe Secretary Hagel supports “going it alone.”
“I suspect Obama will do this with or without congressional authorization,” MacGregor asserts.
Former Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich called for a fact-check when he published a list of 10 unproven claims before the Obama administration jumps into war.
There can be little doubt that Syria is the battleground state between the Sunni and Shiite factions of Islam. Iran, the largest Shiite nation and the natural threat to Saudi Arabia, is too big and powerful to attack, so the war begins in Syria – the Iranian ally.
So, while the U.S. President campaigns for more killing, the Russian President, pushes for the WMD disarmament of Syria in an effort to save the world from more killing while a diplomatic solution is brokered.
Email Kimberly: Kimberly.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tips ?: theKDreport.com
Link to previous story on San Diego 6 News: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O__VgJKB59I&feature=share
Past breaking news story: http://www.examiner.com/article/did-cia-and-state-department-run-illegal-arms-trafficking-benghazi-1
Col. William O’Brien contributed to this report
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