The Fog of the Syrian Civil War

The Fog of the Syrian Civil War

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JAISAL NOOR: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Jaisal Noor in Baltimore. In Syria on Monday, UN chemical weapons inspectors
met with and took samples from victims of apparent gas attack in the rebel-held suburbs
of Damascus. But on the way, the UN team members say that a sniper attack then hit a vehicle
in their convoy. No one was injured. The results of this mission weigh heavily on whether or
not the U.S. will directly intervene militarily in Syria, since President Obama has said that
the use of chemical weapons by Assad would force his hand to intervene. Now joining us to discuss this latest news
is Omar Dahi. He’s an assistant professor of economics at Hampshire College in Amherst,
Massachusetts, and an editor at The Middle East Report. Thank you so much for joining us, Omar. OMAR DAHI: Thank you. Great to be here. NOOR: So, Omar, can you lay out the different
scenarios that are being thrown around to explain this apparent poison gas attack? On
one hand, it seems that there was a gas attack carried out in Syria in the suburbs of Damascus,
but many people have argued that it wouldn’t make sense for the regime of Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad to use chemical weapons, because the Obama administration has said that they
would use this to justify direct military intervention. DAHI: Sure. Well, there are two basic questions
that have been discussed. The first is: was there actually a chemical attack? And the
second is: if it did happen, who did the chemical attack? And I think by now, given the different
reports, given the report issued by Doctors Without Borders that hospitals they supported
did treat individuals who appeared to suffer from toxins and so forth, there is increasing
evidence that beyond a doubt there was some sort of chemical attack involved. Where it gets more complicated is the accusation
of who did it. And there are different scenarios that are being discussed. One of them is by
the government and other observers who, as you pointed out, argue that the government
has nothing to gain from this chemical attack, that they seem to be winning the war and have
been able to do a lot of destruction through conventional weapons. There’s a sort of international
equilibrium that does not seem to be willing to intervene or ready to intervene, and that
the only thing that might upset this equilibrium is such a chemical attack. Therefore it would
not make sense to do so. On the other hand, accusing the rebels of
doing so also raises some questions about plausibility, because if the rebels are capable
of carrying out such a large-scale attack, and if they have the means to do so and they
are murderous enough to unleash them on among civilians, then why would they choose to do
it against rebel-held territory, and why would they not use it against the regime forces?
Why would they not try to turn the tide of the war? That’s also being a question that’s
being raised. A third scenario and fourth scenario that
I’ve heard. One is that the government did the chemical attack in response to what it
saw as a perceived or real escalation and advancement by rebel troops, that the rebels
have been managing to turn the tide. And there was a report in Le Figaro, French newspaper,
that U.S.-trained or U.S. special operations officers are in Syria and assisting the rebels,
so that it might be an attack on those groups. A fourth plausible explanation is that the
command structure within the regime itself is disintegrating and that perhaps the order
did not come from the top leadership but came from someone else down the chain of command,
or maybe high up within the top chain of command but reflecting a split in the very top leadership
on how to handle the decision-making process. And so it could have been basically a signal
from the regime that they’re willing to go all the way, that they’re willing to use whatever
means at their disposal to end the war if the rebels continue making advances. All of these are speculation, and using logic
or reason is really not the way, I think, to establish guilt or culpability in such
a crime. I think such a crime should have an independent investigation. The UN team
that’s already in Syria should be allowed to investigate and the facts [incompr.] for
themselves, as all the crimes that have been conducted the Syrian uprising. The chemical
attack was horrific, but so has been the over 100,000 people being killed and million displaced.
These are other crimes. And all of the crime should be investigated, no matter who did
them. NOOR: Now, if it is confirmed beyond a shadow
of a doubt that chemical weapons were used in Syria, would it become legal for the U.S.
to intervene? And what are the alternatives to a military intervention? DAHI: Well, in terms of legality, the international
legality would depend on a Security Council resolution. Only then under international
law would it be legal to intervene, and that is unlikely to happen. I think the intervention, if it happens, is,
according to the different reports that you read, likely to happen through long-range
bombing, Tomahawk or cruise missiles launched from very far away that are outside the reach
of the Syrian defense system. And I think they would do more harm than good. I mean, we’ve seen in the past two years at
every level of escalation, whether it came to the militarization of the uprising or when
it came to economic sanctions, there’s been–after every massacre and every destruction unleashed
by the regime, there’s been a call to do something. And you can see that clearly in the case of
economic sanctions, that it really hurt the most vulnerable people in Syria and have not
really hurt the regime as much as it hurt the ordinary population, because the regime
has resources that it has access to and it has support. In the case of military intervention, I think
you’re likely to see a further escalation in the rate of destruction, especially since
the Syrian regime and its allies in Iran, primarily, and also in Russia, have been signaling
that they’re willing to stick with the regime till the very end. So there’s no guarantee
even if there’s a strike that it will precipitate some quick solution. In fact, the most predictable
outcome is that it will really increase the level of destruction, invite further retaliation
by the regime and its allies, and perhaps trigger a much wider war, which is why I think
despite a lot of the noises that you hear calling for intervention, despite what you
see as preparations for such intervention, I don’t think it’s going to be a large-scale
attack. I still don’t believe that’s going to happen. It might. Who knows? But there are alternatives that are also not
very easy, and I think it’s important to really note that there’s a lot of uncertainty and
there’s difficult choices that need to be made. The best solution is really a political
settlement, a settlement that ends the violence as quickly as possible, a negotiated solution.
That sounds very implausible to a lot of people, and perhaps with every subsequent massacre
it becomes more difficult. But the way to try to end the violence is to start a process
to end the violence, not more violence. And we’ve seen in the last two years the logic
that military solutions will end the crisis has proven to be false, tragically, time and
time again. The best way is to demand a political settlement, to demand all sides end the cycle
of violence, and to really pressure for some sort of negotiated outcome, which is going
to be a process. It’s not going to happen in one day. It’s
going to take confidence-building measures so that each side doesn’t think that the other
side will stop the agreement and start attacking them, so that each side has trust that they
will not be annihilated if they surrender. I see it as the best possible outcome and
what we should all be demanding. NOOR: And let’s talk about the U.S.’s role
in what’s been happening in the Middle East, but also go back in history a little bit.
Foreign Policy magazine just highlighted the hypocrisy of the U.S. when it comes to the
use of chemical weapons as it revealed how the U.S. knew Saddam Hussein was launching
some of the worst chemical attacks in history against Iran during their war in the ’80s.
And instead of drawing attention to it, the CIA actually gave them a hand and assisted
in those attacks. DAHI: Absolutely, and you don’t just have
to go back to Iraq. You can go back further in the postwar period. Who has used chemical
weapons in attacks and nuclear weapons? In fact, it’s been the U.S. in the case of Japan,
in the case of the Vietnam War, where chemical and biological weapons were attacked in sort
of the Indonesian war, the Southeast Asian war. And so the U.S. has no moral ground to
lecture and preach on others about chemical weapons. The U.S. furthermore has had a destructive
foreign policy in the Middle East, being allied to human rights dictators and human rights
abusers, allied to Saudi Arabia and Israel, who have a long history either of committing
human rights, or in the case of Saudi Arabia, really a totalitarian, despotic government. In the case in Syria itself, the U.S. in my
opinion has not been the primary mover. I think to a great extent there has been some
learning from the Iraq War debacle that the U.S. has not rushed into intervention. It
doesn’t see it in its own interests to intervene. And I think in the case of Syria, the primary
movers have been the Gulf states. They are the ones who have assisted the rebels. They’re
the ones who in many cases allowed the militarization of the rebel side or facilitated it. And you
have other regional players that have resisted the regime. So in that sense, I don’t think
that the U.S. foreign policy in the case of Syria has been as destructive as it has been
elsewhere in the Middle East, and I think there is a division within the elites in the
U.S. on what to do. And you’ve seen the media coverage actually–compared
to the case of Iraq, compared to the case of Afghanistan, if you’re really honest about
critical thinking about this coverage and what has–comparing the two cases, you’ll
see much more of a divided opinion and a mixed picture when it comes to Syria. There’s a
lot of apprehension. And I think that’s a good thing. I think the strike by the U.S.
is also unpopular. A recent poll that I read showed that only 9 percent of U.S. citizens
are in support of U.S. direct intervention into Syria. And I think that is to say that we should
be seizing on this and supporting it or supporting the idea of a political settlement and pushing
back against the tide of military direct intervention as the only solution. As difficult as it seems
and as murderous as the Syrian regime is, we should not participate in a course of action
that will increase the destruction, but trying our best to minimize the violence. And a political
solution is the only way to do that. NOOR: Omar Dahi, thank you so much for joining
us. DAHI: Thanks for having me. NOOR: Thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

65 thoughts on “The Fog of the Syrian Civil War

  • Carl Drysdale Post author

    false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag. false flag.

  • BluesdesJours Post author

    bullshit rt… must be getting paid for disinformation

  • Searching4Truth1 Post author

    Why would the so-called rebels not use the chems against Assad's forces?

    The answer should be clear: 1) People are easier to get at in their own areas of control and 2) Of course to turn one and all against Assad to bring the US, UK, et al, down on Assad's head – – just as the BHO administration is now preparing to do in the next week or so just as SecState Kerry says

    And, yes, why would Assad use chems when he showed clearly he could use conventionals to destroy the same area?

  • PounamuKnight Post author

    WTF? This guy's pro-FSA scenarios of the government commiting the WMD attack are bullshit…

  • evermore8888 Post author

    So, let me understand this correctly…

    – the Assad regime, under intense international pressure and scrutiny allows UN inspectors into their country to prove "they have nothing to hide"

    – a short time after UN Inspectors arrive the Assad Regime is accused of staging the largest chemical warfare operation in the world in the past 25 years!

    …really??? I mean really???

    Can anyone, anywhere, in their wildest dreams believe Assad would be so utterly & totally STUPID as to do such a thing????

  • Yuri Tyutrin Post author

    to many maybes from this dude.

  • Searching4Truth1 Post author

    A politcal settlement and negotiated agreement which would of course oust Assad and put worse terrorists into power just like in Egypt

    If the US, et al, does attack in a limited way; ie, not going the mile, Russia will then send those ground to air missiles, that Syria has previously paid for and now demanding that Russia fulfill its order, and then watch it escalate & SHTF

  • thematrix248 Post author

    What is this guy saying? Why use the chemical attack on rebels ?This was a blackops operation u moran to blame Assad and attack Syria and hope to drag Iran with it . 2birds with 1 stone .

  • madebutante Post author

    the MICC/Banksters want perpetual war so they have job security.

  • Tino Veen Post author

    stop being so soft Real News, we get to WW3 idiots! Use your power and money you get more efficient. It is all over youtube who fund these false flags, common man?

  • madebutante Post author

    I trust The Real News more than any other media outlet, I've decided! There are wonderful outlets w/ various political views, even left right and center ones. I know Jay Paul has his own personal views, but I also believe he is committed to the unbridled truth. I think he would state something publicly even if it were against his own political views. That's why I really love your crew. Thank you soooo much!!

  • capucchan8 Post author

    great Barry is now on the road to Damascus

  • DEM0N0FTHEN0RTH Post author

    Why only talk of the crimes of the regime, have a look at the rebels aswell ffs

  • AI fan Post author

    Omar you miss the most obvious hypothesis: That the rebels or even US/UK spooks carried out the attack on rebel areas precisely to give the US/UK a greater mandate to support them through direct intervention.

  • capucchan8 Post author

    hey what do Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Jane Fonda, Bruce Springsteen, George Clooney have to say about this? and move on dot org?

  • Andreven Post author

    What evidence is there to suggest that it was a false flag operation?

  • TheHagueCityTHC Post author

    The West is probably behind this attack, so they have an excuse to mass murder people again..

  • badexperiment Post author

    No evidence at all. However, the US has wanted to get involved in this whole Syria civil war for awhile now, that's why they've been training and funding rebels. Getting rid of the Syrian regime gets rid of Iran's biggest ally, as well as an ally of Russia and China, and all that other geopolitical shit. US has been saying for awhile that it would get involved in Syria if Assad used chemical weapons, and now it appears US has a reason to intervene.

  • YouTube user5907 Post author

    Oh TRN, not you too, I thought you were better than that 🙁

    Why would the rebels do this? Because they're losing and this is what will hand them victory on a platter, just as it did in Libya.

    Why would the regime do this? Suicide by cop. Really? We're going with that theory are we? A whole national government just randomly decided they were tired of living?

    Why is this even a discussion?

    Oh, and remind me why we're "ignoring reason" again?

    I donate to you people. Don't f**k this up.

  • TheHagueCityTHC Post author

    This guest comes across as very untrustworthy….

  • musick2138 Post author

    chemical weapons, especially nerve GASes are notoriously difficult to use / ineffective in combat, (pinpointed) against troops — it's much easier to slaughter civilians with them

  • badexperiment Post author

    I wouldn't say the rebels are "losing", since nobody is really winning this civil war. But it makes no sense why Assad would resort to a chemical attack at the moment when the Syrian army have been on the offense for the last couple months. It also doesn't make sense why they'd launch a chemical attack so close to the capital. Plus, let's be real. If Assad truly wants to win this war, which he I'm sure he does, he's not going to use a chemical weapon to openly invite NATO to intervene.

  • Andreven Post author

    The US certainly does have an interest in seeing assad removed, just as iran and russia have an interest in seeing him remain in power. But that is no basis to make claims a bout a false flag op.

    It seems obvious to me that the obama administration was bluffing when in spoke of the "red line". They are reluctant to do anything because they know that intervention would be complicated, costly and unpopular domestically and abroad. So even now that they have their justification, they do nothing.

  • Kathy C Post author

    Exactly, it is the scenario that makes the most sense.

  • Kathy C Post author

    Long range missiles would do more harm than good? That depends of course on what you intend to do. Helping the people of Syria is the last thing on the mind of the west.

  • Barcode Nation Post author

    What about Alex Jones & Faux news? & the Bible?

  • MrMeak66 Post author

    What is this? This guest is paid off to lie. Have TRNN also sold out?

  • Rexx Post author

    If the rebels used the chemical attack on the Syrian Military, the US could not accuse the Syrian Military of deploying the chemical attack, The rebels attacking civilians gives deniability and the US has an excuse to enter the Syrian civil war.

  • Kafka Dev Post author

    That is true, in the sense, the odds of the government doing it is far lower then the US/Israel agents doing it; Which wasn't mentioned. Hey, you have to give them credit for even talking about it not being the government. If you turn on the TV here all you see is war propaganda. Iraq take two, here we go.

  • YouTube user5907 Post author

    TRN, you need to start reading your own comments section; almost no one is falling for this bullshit, why are you? I donate to you guys becuase you're our insurance policy against EXACTLY THIS KIND OF BULLSHIT. If you fail now, then what were you for?

    PS: In 1939 most Germans really believed that, after a massive buildup by the German army right on the Polish border, the Polish army, apparently just for kicks, attacked, thus forcing peace loving Germany to defend itself.

    Still sound hilarious?

  • HigherPlanes Post author

    Any truth behind the claims that the US government and Syrian rebels were behind these attacks in an attempt to frame and blame the Syrian government to intentionally start a war which will ultimately lead the US into war with Iran?


  • neo nero Post author

    Real News is a miniature version of Fox news; you know, same globalist agenda.

  • Tippersnore Post author

    'cause Basher lubs his chems, dude?

  • fozzy0266 Post author

    Assad is not this dumb…unlike the American govt that has pulled this shit before to start wars.

  • Insert badass-funny-wierd name here! Post author

    Because Assad is a fucking moron.

  • Rolandfurioso Post author

    Brilliant analysis. Did you learn that watching all those cartoons?

  • 13 WhiteKnights Post author

    It is clear that ending the violence / create peace will be a defeat for the criminals (banking sector etc etc) in the so called "developed western nations" (whatever that means and they do not represent western nations). A defeat while the economies are going down the drain if they (the people) don't do the right thing.

  • Edward Blair Post author

    Assad should run before he dangles from a rope. which will be a repeat in history.

  • capucchan8 Post author

    Alex Jones is against it like he was against Iraq, faux news the second largest second of their stock is a Saudi prince, so it's obvious whose side they are on, and I don't read the bible so I can't answer that , but why r u defending celebrities who only oppose war when it's led by a republican but conveniently keep quiet when it's a democrat? oh and in case you are insinuating I'm a republican I am actually a political atheist shit head

  • capucchan8 Post author

    you know the leader of the Kurds in Syria who has fought both Assad's forces and the rebels stated the same thing according to Reuters, yet the pos Obama bots and neo-cons will completely disregard that

  • MsJustwatchme Post author

    Here's an idea – back up your "scenarios" with some god damned proof. With no proof, all we have left is logic and reason and a history of NATO destroying and destabilizing numerous countries in the region. No one with a brain believes Assad did it.

  • capucchan8 Post author

    hell yeah

  • Barcode Nation Post author

    Had not a thing a to do with defending any of them, that was a retort to your stereotyping of this website. & your no political Atheist if you can`t see threw Alex Jones, shill troll. Busted your punk ass right out.

  • Barcode Nation Post author

    Actually I will defend one of those ..sorta. Micheal Moore has been hammering Obama for sometime now. But since your such a political partisan & have Jones do your thinking, you wouldn`t know that. Save your breath defending Jones, I will shred you, if I feel like it.

  • capucchan8 Post author

    by the way how was I defending Jones moron, I simply answered your question, seems you can not take honest answers, go watch tmz with the rest of the zombies you worthless fool

  • Lefty Gatekeeper Post author

    We won't worry about you being a future employee at the Rand Corporation.

  • Karime18 Post author

    I think the guy interviewed made some excellent points. I really liked how he displayed his thoughts. The real question is: do you honestly think that people that people who have hated and killed each other for years can come to a point of agreement or even seizing fire? Now now let's not live in our own Utopia but be realistic. In this case I think international intervention is necessary.

  • Frantic Post author

    People get in contact with your local politicians and make them aware in no uncertain terms that you are against intervention, further more call out the corrupt politicians for their complicity in supporting this crime

  • capucchan8 Post author

    what's the matter assshole? the cat suddenly got your tongue?

  • Barcode Nation Post author

    Bring your Billy Bad ass self over to Twitter where I can both politcally educate you & teach you what eating someone for breakfast really looks like… Not enough people here for me to waste anymore time on you. Twiiter account –> @NotAJoe

  • capucchan8 Post author

    removed your comment? great comeback, lol, you tried to paint me as
    a republican and failed, you said Alex Jones does my thinking for me and failed so now you got nothing to say, let me guess youre a millenial and either mommy or daddy said you were special and you think you have the world figured out, worthless fool, go watch TMZ with the other zombies , educate me on what? you are worthless

  • mikeoli Post author

    Then you should go over there or send your child

  • marco hanse Post author

    In the end the rebels will win

  • marco hanse Post author

    put the bible in the toilet were it belongs

  • Insert badass-funny-wierd name here! Post author

    Hey, they say stupidity is the best wisdome. =/

    Yet, you have a point since he succesfully manages to pull EVERYONE's strings.

  • Barcode Nation Post author

    Missed the jest .. totally I believe. Agree it`s non-sense, but there are people trying to make prophecy a reality, & they are getting close to doing just that in the middle east. Believe in the bible or not, to understand what`s going on one must not dismiss it.

  • Ima Skeptic Post author

    Its been known for thousands of years that violence only begets more violence. So when is mankind going to snap out of this primative mindset of war, and more war, to solve anything? Its senseless murder. No two ways about it.

  • Andre Dik Post author

    Obama and NATO supports terrorists Al-Qaeda and other terrorists! ! !
    Obama and NATO = terrorists – murderers! ! !

  • Andre Dik Post author

    Till August 21 fighters bandits carried out some chemical attacks. Why the countries of NATO were silent? Because it was favorable to them. And now they on the party of terrorists of Al-Qaeda who in Syria are at war against the lawful government.

    Obama – murderer!!!

  • Andre Dik Post author

    And if terrorists (which in Syria or others) call Obama and will tell that the administration of the USA used the chemical weapon. He itself(himself) will shoot also the administration? Or will start bombing America for rescue of people?

  • marco hanse Post author

    religious people never can achieve there goal

  • MustacheVerra Post author

    This guy is kind of stupid. Why would they use it against the rebel is because they can't win alone and they want to drag the US in the war by creating a humanitarian crisis. Besides they certainly don't have enough of it to win a war. If they had people would start asking where they got them and will soon look at the Israeli for example and the Israel would do something that blatant.

  • djdede Post author

    Everybody talking about why wo and when althoug the rebels already admitted they did it ! they got it from saudi arabia and didnt know how to handle it right and then it went off. . . I repeat: The Rebels admitted it ! It even stood in some newspaper, so why even further talk about who, why and when although you can see it so easily. Further investigation is great but not talking about nonsense which is not reality 😉

  • marco hanse Post author

    cause they'll kill every one

  • joe biden Post author

    I think they wont to work construction.

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