Monday, August 26, 2013

Chemical attack in Syria

As soon as there was a report of a major chemical weapons attack in Syria, with graphic footage showing people choking and hundreds of bodies, what do the Syrians do. They get a proxy to fire four rockets from Lebanon into Israel. Actually two fell short in Lebanon and only two hit western Galilee, one of which was intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system. No one was harmed but there was some property damage. Israel responded in a minor way, attacking the site from where the missiles were fired, but restrained itself to avoid exacerbating the situation.

Although it is certain that this chemical attack actually took place and that the Syrian Government forces are the only ones that could have fired chemical weapons-containing shells during their current offensive in southern Damascus, nevertheless the Syrian Government and their supporter Russia denied this and attributed the attack to the insurgent forces. British Foreign Secty Haig poured scorn on this suggestion, but Pres. Obama was once again hesitant. He wants further proof, such as an investigation by the UN inspectors, who are on the ground in Damascus, but are functionally useless. Once again Pres. Obama is showing that a red line is not a red line as far as he is concerned, and all his talk about severe consequences is so far just that, talk. Noone, least of all the Syrian Government, takes the US seriously anymore, they literally get away with murder.

The spill-over of the Syrian civil war into Lebanon is accelerating. Two large car bombs exploded in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, causing 45 deaths and hundreds of injuries. This was the biggest attack since the civil war ended years ago. Also presumably intended to take the focus away from the chemical weapons attack in Syria. The targets were Sunni mosques, and the attacks were carried out by Shia/Alawite allies of the Syrian regime. Retaliation by the Sunnis in the sectarian clash is expected soon.


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