It seems the momentum towards escalated war in Syria is shifting from ‘crossing a red line’ to having ‘crossed a red line’ where ‘red line’ has become a euphemism for the point at which the US military will intervene against president Bashir al-Assad.
The ‘red line’, in the case of the Syrian civil war, is the use of chemical weapons against civilians by government forces. In the latest incident Syrian rebels have accused the government of using the weapons, an accusation the government strenuously denies saying they have proof that rebels have been manufacturing chemical weapons and claiming that they have found chemicals for making weapons in rebel tunnels. The UN, the US and their Western allies have demanded that UN inspectors be given access to the affected areas, a demand that the Syrian government acceded to. UN inspectors will arrive at the site on Monday.
If the UN inspectors report that gas had been used against civilians and that Syrian government forces had been responsible then the US and their allies will either intervene militarily against al-Assad or, more likely, threaten al-Assad with the use of devastating force if he did not step down immediately. However, proving conclusively that the government was responsible may well take some time. Furthermore, none of the allied powers have said what action will be taken if the inspectors find that chemical weapons have indeed been used but not by the government, but instead by the rebels.
Meanwhile, the Israelis are preparing for all-out war against all of its enemies in case of retaliation against Israel in the event of military intervention in Syria.
Recent secret talks between senior US military personnel and Israeli defence and government personnel have clearly been about making contingency plans for dealing with any escalation that may arise from the war in Syria. Since these plans had been put in place just prior to an event that may trigger activation of those plans, one might ponder whether or not the entire scenario for escalation has been spontaneous or contrived – which begs the question: who exactly did use the chemical weapons in Syria that seems to have initiated this series of events?
The question one needs to ask is: who would gain from the use of chemical weapons knowing what the likely outcome would be? Certainly not al-Assad. A US intervention will be the end of al-Assad and his regime. The rebels may have used them in a false flag attack in the hope that al-Assad will be blamed resulting in US intervention but then, if it were discovered that they had used them, those responsible, regardless of who they are, will be liable for arrest and face accusations of war crimes. And any post-civil war government will always be under a cloud of suspicion for having used chemical weapons against their own people.
There is a third alternative. The crime may have been perpetrated by an entity which doesn’t care for either side in Syria’s civil war in order to continue its own war against its perceived enemies.