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Syria Intervention: For Human Rights or ‘Pipelinestan’?

Is the administration’s outrage really about gassing civilians?

by
Abraham H. Miller

Bio

September 9, 2013 - 12:01 am
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Remember Hama? Hama is Syria’s fourth largest city. In 1982, in a military conflict with the Muslim Brotherhood, Hafez al Assad (Bashar’s father) destroyed the city by indiscriminately launching aerial and heavy weapons strikes against it. In Hama, a stronghold of the Muslim Brotherhood, everyone was considered an enemy. The exact number of dead is unknown, but 25,000 is a reasonable guess.

Those who were wounded or simply hidden in the rubble were alleged to have been eliminated by heavy mechanized use of cyanide gas. The world could barely contain itself to say nothing about the wanton slaughter.

Between 1964 and 1969, in the civil war in Yemen, the Egyptian army used poison gas in support of the rebel militias against the monarchy. The world was outraged to the point of deafening silence.

Then there was the nasty business of combination gases that the United States used  in Vietnam to clear Vietcong tunnels. Although the United States claimed the use did not violate the Geneva Conventions, many nations saw it otherwise, especially with regard to DM gas, which can kill, although not designed to do so. When the Ford administration signed the Geneva Protocol on the use of chemical weapons, the previous use of gas in Vietnam was prohibited.

The Saudis brought in French troops who used poison gas to clear the tunnels of the Grand Mosque after it had been seized by militant fundamentalists generally believed to be the precursors of al-Qaeda. The world was silent.

To date, Bashar Assad has used poison gas fifteen times against Syrian militants and civilians. And yet, there was no demand by the international community or the Obama administration to employ military retaliation against the regime. So, why now?

The party line is that now there is clear evidence. But it is difficult to believe that the other fourteen times were vague, especially since the administration has said repeatedly that only the regime has the access and capability to deploy chemical agents. (An allegation Russian scientists, incidentally, strongly dispute.) If that is true now, it certainly was equally true before.

When the world of diplomacy is ambiguous and every Obama lemming is quoting administration talking points as if they were facts, then it is time to follow the money or, in this case, the pipelines.

The first thing that is vital to understanding the Middle East under Obama is that Obama has bet on Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan as our man in the region. The second thing to note is that Turkey is Russian Gazprom’s second biggest customer, right after the European Union.

Gazprom owns the world’s largest network of pipelines and, in Eastern Europe, is often the sole distributor of gas and oil.  As Belarus learned, Russia has no problem using Gazprom to apply political pressure. Fail to do what Russia wants and your energy supplies will be cut off or your prices will be raised.

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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Ummm, the US is scrambling to build LNG facilities so that we can sell NatGas to the Europeans. But the author of this piece argues that we're going to war so that the Europeans can buy gas from the Qataris? That's a serious disconnect.

This is the kind of conspiratorial junk one usually sees on Zero Hedge.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
We used DM gas, adamsite, against the Bonus Army in the 1932. It is a riot control gas that we used against the Viet Cong. It is not designed to kill like the author said.

32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Jayden. although Lisa`s article is neat... on sunday I got a top of the range Nissan GT-R: when I got my cheque for $7178 this - 4 weeks past and would you believe, ten/k lass month. without a question it is the best-job I've had. I started this four months/ago and immediately made minimum $81, per-hr. check it out......
http://www.jam30.com
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
If this Syria conflict is about nothing more than gas and oil, how about the US take the man power and the $ that would be used for the conflict and place a full court press on development of our gas a shale oil resources?
Shore up our resources at home, assist our "allies" in the ME with their resources and call it a day.
Who would stop this, besides Obama.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
...and if you don't know how Qatar, on the one hand, and the Leviathan gas field and Cyprus, on the other, are involved in all of this...you don't know as much as you think you do about what's going on and why.

Let's just say that we've backed Russia into a strategic, economic and diplomatic corner...and they're just about of out of peaceful options...and they're ready to come out fighting.

Smart diplomacy: Back a bear into a corner and torment it. 'Hold muh beer and watch this!'
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
why does every writer or leftie want to blame Oil & big corporations? this finger pointing has been going on for decades but the lack of evidience is like telling us Global warming is REAL
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obviously, you don't live in an oil producing area or, if you do, aren't paying attention. Flash: Oil companies and other big corporations DO try to influence governments. They try very hard and not always ethically or legally. And that's here in the US where they have political opposition and there are laws against bribery and campaign finance laws. In most of the rest of the World, policy is decided by who pays who.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Name an industrial sector of the economy where a business does not influence the government.

They should influence the government. it is called the 1st amendment. The can and they do go to far many times. But business are not the only ones trying to influence the government legally or illegally, so let's not pretend that is true.


Also when business do not try to influence government they get shafted by politicians with great gusto. Look at Microsoft in 1995. After the years of lawsuit s in the 1990s Microsoft learned the hard way and ramped up their lobbying.

I have my problems with Microsoft, but I also have my problems with government bodies like the EU going after Microsoft so that they can replace it for patriotic or graft reason.

Show me a business without lobbyists and I'll show you a business that is like a baby about to have it lollipop stolen by a politicians
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh and like the people in Israel who protest Caterpillar for their machines are used to tear down Palestine homes of rebels - yup it is Cat's fault not the people who make war and policies
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Those people who do not like Cat would be cheering if Caterpillar tractor were sold to Arab governments and were used to fill in an anti-tank ditches so that Arab armor could invade Israel.

That is how pathetic the left is.

Caterpillar has sold Caterpillar tractors to Arab countries. They sold 48 or so D8 around 2000 to Syria for faming. The Syrians promptly used them outside of normal operating parameters and promptly destroyed them. Caterpillar will sell tractors to any legitimate government. If the U.S did not Komatsu or Volvo or others would fill the void in a heartbeat.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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