This citizen journalism image taken on Monday, June 18, 2012 and provided by the Rebels Battalion of Baba Amro, purports to show Syrian rebels holding their weapons as they prepare to fight against Syrian troops, in Homs province. Syrian rebels clashed with soldiers for hours overnight in a northwestern province and inflicted heavy casualties on government forces, activists said Wednesday. The fighting came after the head the of the country’s U.N. observers said his forces had come under attack and cast doubt on the future of the mission. (AP Photo/The Rebels Battalion of Baba Amro) THE ASSOCIATED PRESS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS HANDOUT PHOTO
If you follow the conflict in Syria (thanks, President Obama for turning a periodic massacre of dissidents by the Assad regime into a multi-year, festival of slaughter and ethnic cleansing), then you know the war there is coming down to the short strokes. ISIS and various other anti-Assad forces are basically vanquished and have been pushed into a concentrated area in Idlib province (upper left of the below map). There are an estimated 30,000 opposition fighters here and it will be a bloody fight for Assad’s forces to eradicate them as their only choices are to die fighting or to be executed after surrender.
From BBC https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-45404086
The logical course of action would be for Assad to use some of the stock of chemical weapons that Syria totally gave up in 2014 to crush strategic strongpoints that would permit Assad’s forces to overrun the area.
Interestingly, if you go back and review the major chemical attacks that have been carried out with the chemical weapons that Syria gave up in 2014–you can never remind people too often about this–one of the signals before significant Syrian chemical attacks are statements by Russia and various Syrian propaganda outlets, in best Alex Jones style, that the opposition forces are planning a “false flag” chemical attack. Sort of like these from the Russian embassy and media outlets and two prominent pro-Assad bloggers and Twitter personalities.
.@mod_russia:Terrorists prepare fake chemical attack in #Syria. 8 chlorine containers delivered to Hallouz near Jisr al-Shughur in #Idlib province.“Victims” to be saved by #WhiteHelmets, trained by UK-based Olive Group. Pretext for new airstrikes by US, UK.https://t.co/EUGo554Xtb pic.twitter.com/F9667qkw6y
— Russian Embassy, UK (@RussianEmbassy) August 25, 2018
— Russia International News 🇷🇺 (@russia_watch) September 4, 2018
Trump bombed Syria in April without evidence that a chemical attack occurred, let alone who did it. Now he’s again threatening to risk escalation with a nuclear power – all to prevent the Syrian government from defeating al-Qaeda. https://t.co/prHJxQ7dU0
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) September 4, 2018
I conducted an Interview with the former Ambassador to #Syria Peter Ford about the Syrian armies upcoming battle against AlQaeda in #Idlib, the possibility of chemical attack false flag and subsequent US strikes to save ALQaeda. https://t.co/whCKUOtdD0
— Syrian Girl 🇸🇾 (@Partisangirl) September 1, 2018
Combine this with President Trump unexpectedly canceling a Labor Day golf outing:
Possibly even stranger is that a strong contingent of people on the Internet have a theory that involves the president’s bowel movements that they keep sharing with me https://t.co/8RcFHbkupE
— Matt Laslo (@MattLaslo) September 3, 2018
And with the sudden focus on the subject by President Trump, Nikki Haley, and the State Department, it seems that credible evidence exists of an imminent chemical attack by the Assad regime.
President Bashar al-Assad of Syria must not recklessly attack Idlib Province. The Russians and Iranians would be making a grave humanitarian mistake to take part in this potential human tragedy. Hundreds of thousands of people could be killed. Don’t let that happen!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 3, 2018
— Archive: Ambassador Nikki Haley (@AmbNikkiHaley) September 3, 2018
The US State Department makes it clear the US and its allies would respond to any reckless attack in Syria's Idlib, especially the use of chemical weapons by Assad https://t.co/YobqC2awuu pic.twitter.com/9JrnibA5H6
— TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) September 4, 2018
It is very rare for Trump to directly threaten Putin or attack Putin. But he has once before, in April. After Assad's chemical attack, Trump ratcheted up the rhetoric against Assad and Putin. One week later, US bombed Syrian targets. Trump's 2nd round of missile strikes in Syria.
— Marshall Cohen (@MarshallCohen) September 3, 2018
As we’ve seen before, a Trump red line is not really the same as an Obama red line. When you couple this warning with President Trump’s weakness on any issue dealing with Russia, one can anticipate that any US military response, should it be impossible to deter Assad, will have a greater scope than the previous attacks which focused only on targets directly associated with the chemical attacks. One can anticipate that there is a much better than 50-50 chance that Iranian controlled targets will be hit. Likewise, there will probably be strikes close enough to Russian targets to warrant the issue of brown trousers to Russian troops.
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