Friday, April 7, 2017

Assad as cretin hypothesis.

Nobody thought to ask the obvious question [about the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun]: “Why would [Syrian president] Assad do such a thing?” Syria was en route to a new round of peace talks. More importantly, she was about to enter negotiations in which the usual American, British and French demands that “Assad must go!” were to be, for the first time since the Syrian Civil War broke out in earnest, quietly put to one side. Having won the war on the ground, the Assad regime was on the brink of clearing away its enemies’ unrealistic preconditions. Finally, a serious conversation about Syria’s future could begin.

And yet, we are being invited to believe that, with all this at stake, President Assad ordered the use of Sarin gas on his own citizens. Somehow, instigating a reprehensible war crime against women and children was going to strengthen his moral authority. Somehow, by revolting the entire world, he would improve his chances of being accepted as Syria’s legitimate ruler. Somehow, by embarrassing the Russian Federation, his country’s most valuable military ally, he would enhance Syria’s national security. The whole notion is absurd.[1]

It is.

[1] "Gas Attack In Khan Sheikhoun! But why would Bashar al-Assad blow himself up?" By Chris Trotter, The Daily Blog, 4/5/17.


Francis W. Porretto said...

"The whole notion is absurd."

Uh, sorry, but it's not.

Dictators often do things simply because they can. However, in this case, Assad, anticipating victory over the rebels, might have chosen to use Sarin to induce terror in them and their loyalists. He might have hoped to gain their complete submission by demonstrating on a small scale what might happen were they not to "surrender completely." The civilian population would function as hostages to their continued complete acceptance of their defeat.

Consider that the Obamunists had been completely flaccid about Syria. Consider further that Assad had Russian backing, seemingly without limit. Consider finally that the Trump Administration had been described in the international press as "beleaguered" and "disorganized," and that Trump himself was regarded as having no interest in military action in Syria or the Middle East generally. In light of all that why shouldn't Assad think he might "flex" without adverse consequences, in the hope of deterring any further rebellion against his regime?

Be not too quick to believe your own bullshit.

Unknown said...

I officially have no idea what to believe. All I know is that John Mccain seems giddy, and there are rumors of cleaning house in Trump's administration in favor of people who should make everyone uneasy. I'm hoping Mr. Porretto can have a take that helps me understand better.

Tim Turner said...

I also don't know what to believe. If there was convincing evidence that Assad launched the attack, I haven't seen it.

I tend to agree with the logic presented in the post. But what the heck do I know?