by Robert Parry, Dec. 16, 2015
To refresh memories, in late summer 2013 Secretary of State John Kerry, the neocons, and the Fawning Corporate Media – all lusting for an open U.S. armed offensive to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad – came within inches of mousetrapping President Obama into ordering a “shock and awe” attack on Syria.
The proximate casus belli was a sarin attack outside Damascus. It was blamed on the Syrian government, but the intelligence smelled to high heaven. As VIPS wrote in a Memorandum for the President on Sept. 6, 2013, Turkish-supported rebels were probably the culprits – a false-flag attack their chosen modus operandi.
Better late than never, confirmation has finally come that Turkish intelligence, not Bashar al-Assad, was responsible for the infamous sarin gas attacks outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Intelligence analysts, including those in the Defense Intelligence Agency, strongly suspected that this was the case, but they were shut down by the White House and Kerry.
Ray had an opportunity to raise this question last Thursday in Moscow during a Q and A following a presentation by Gen. Michael Flynn (DIA Director from 2012 to 2014). Flynn said he did not remember anything about the sarin attack and its aftermath.
But the neocons remembered; they were cheated out of their war. As Ray reported at the time, Paul Wolfowitz and Joe Liebermann looked as though their mothers had just been run over by a truck, when Ray found himself in their company at CNN on Sept. 9, 2013. The ambiance was funereal. The dearly departed – the almost-war on Syria.
On Dec. 3, 2014, Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), then ranking member and now chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, complained bitterly that the U.S. military was poised to launch a “very targeted, very brief” operation against the Syrian government for using chemical weapons before President Obama called off the attack at the last minute.
“I think the worst moment in U.S. foreign policy since I’ve been here, as far as signaling to the world where we were as a nation, was August a year ago when we had a 10-hour operation that was getting ready to take place in Syria but it didn’t happen.”
Corker’s remarks provide insight into the extent of military plans for imminent attack, which were ordered up by the White House in August 2013. A reporter covering Sen. Corker for The Hill dutifully wrote that it was all because Syrian President Bashar Assad defied Obama’s “red line” against using chemical weapons against rebels in the country’s civil war.
Corker added, “In essence — I’m sorry to be slightly rhetorical — we jumped in Putin’s lap, and we are where we are today in Syria.”
Another revealing remark. Yes, Russian President Putin helped pull Obama’s chestnuts out of the fire by immediately persuading Assad to give up his chemical weapons for destruction. But the neocons are, if anything, persistent. The Western-instigated coup in Kiev a short six months later was, in part, payback for Putin’s effrontery in easing Obama’s “embarrassment” for having “chickened-out” of the wider war for which the neocons had been salivating.