The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Foreign Policy]
2017-04-07 09:24 by Karl Denninger
in Foreign Policy , 1289 references
[Comments enabled]  

Oh hell, why not.

First things first: Who used chemical weapons in Syria recently?

The US says it was Assad.

Does anyone remember that Assad allegedly gave up all his chemical weapons?  You forgot that story, right?  It was touted as one of Obama's "wins"; in fact Susan Rice (yes, that Susan Rice who stands accused of "unmasking" Trump and his pals in "accidental" intelligence intercepts and spreading same all over the government to, some say, "encourage" leaks) said in January that the Obama Administration had secured the removal of all chemical weapons under Syrian government control.

Now maybe she was wrong and maybe she was lying.  But if she wasn't wrong then obviously Assad didn't use what he didn't have.

And let me remind you that there were myriad news reports at the time (2014) that in fact those weapons were gone.

The salient question is this: Who actually used these weapons and where did they come from?

Let me remind you of a few other facts:

1. Assad is winning against the "rebels"; why would he use chemical weapons in a war he is winning when he knows that will bring immediate and serious problems for him?  Assad is a five-alarm bastard but he is not stupid.

2. The "rebels" contain a very large contingent of ISIS backed or affiliated terrorists.

3. The "rebels" would love to see the US come blast their opponent who is beating them in their civil war.  There's nothing like getting someone else to come blow up the guys who are trying to kill you, especially when you're losing!

4. The "rebels" don't give a damn about international law either (terrorists, remember, generally could give a crap about what anyone else thinks.)

The manifest weight of the publicly-visible evidence is that the rebels had motive and perhaps opportunity.  Assad had no motive; he was winning and, according to Susan Rice as recently as January he had no opportunity either.

How do you use something you don't have?

So on a first-blush look I got two negative factors on one side and one positive and one neutral on the other.  Without some pretty firm evidence I'd say the odds are far higher than the "rebels" used the chems than Assad did, but I don't have access to classified intelligence.

There are other issues too.  I saw plenty of pictures of medic-type workers tending to people allegedly gassed but not wearing any sort of PPE.  Folks, Sarin, if that's what was used (and it is what was claimed) is a moderately long-persistence nerve agent especially in liquid form, which incidentally it is at room temperature and pressure. While the residue might not kill a medic after the fact it sure isn't anything good to be around or get on you and it does penetrate through unprotected skin.  Would you go tend to those injured in a gas attack using a long-persistence agent without wearing full PPE?

Just asking, you know.

Now maybe it wasn't Sarin.  Maybe it was chlorine or some other quick-dispersing light-molecule agent (e.g. a gas at room temperature and pressure) that has little residual risk.  But we have been told it was Sarin, so who's lying and what are they lying about because I'm quite certain that no medic in his or her right mind is going to tend to neurological agent victims without taking appropriate precautions against becoming a victim themselves.

Given that we fired 59 cruise missiles (at what -- $2 million each?) resulting in a few blown up airplanes and concrete shelters, plus apparently a fuel depot on a Syrian airbase (but apparently not a destroyed runaway, I note) did we just witness a very expensive fireworks display "for show" or is there something to this?

And if the latter did we actually hit the guy who used chemical weapons or did we just provide military assistance to terrorists?

I'm not at all sure -- and that's not so good.

It's especially not so good, if you think about it, if Assad did use the chems.  See, if he really did do it then he had them, which means Rice was either wrong or lied.  Before you dismiss this as "politics as usual" let me remind you that we were also repeatedly assured that Iran does not possess a nuclear weapon, and that Obama prevented that from occurring, just as he "disarmed" Assad's chemical stockpile.

You might want to contemplate laying in backstock of SPF 50,000,000 Sunblock -- just in case Rice and the Press lied twice.

Since many seem to have trouble understanding the meaning of the above ("fireworks display") I'll help you: Contemplate the circumstances. The strike came while the Chinese head-of-state was having dinner with Trump.  There is this little problem over in the South China Sea, and a military confrontation of any sort there would get messy -- fast.  The Chinese are not stupid, and knowing that Trump is willing to cook off nearly 60 cruise missiles while having dinner just might have been as much for Xinnie Boy's consumption as Assad's.  Oh, and add to that the fact that the Russians are very interested in not having things get out of hand between Japan and China since both are in their back yard, never mind the little Korean issue so....... yeah.

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