32 thoughts on “Assad Forces Trump’s Hand With Chemical Attack – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I am disappointed to see that you accept without question who is accused by the US of doing this but also disappointed that you don’t want to question or explore that but prefer to run off on a discourse based on hypotheticals. I don’t see where that advances anything. The last such accused gas attack was shown subsequently by the inspectors not to have happened.
    A man of your undoubted acumen should at least be asking “Qui bono?”

  2. [comment deleted: nice move. I specifically say I don’t want to get into a pissing contest over who did what to whom & what do you do? Nope, we’re not going there.]

  3. “I hope that both Assad and the Islamist butchers who fought him are hauled before the ICC in The Hague.”

    don’t hold your breath

  4. Yes, Israel will have to go it alone because US influence, like elsewhere around the world, is diminishing. The new power broker in Syria, if not the Middle East, is Russia, bolstered by Iran and Hezbollah, and it is THE party to talk to. Netanyahu has made numerous visits to Moscow in recent years to beg Putin for understanding of Israel’s concerns. Putin lent him an ear but did not do anything.

    No, Israel will not attack Iran, for 2 reasons:
    1. The IOF is a bunch of cowards, preferring to take on a defenceless people, 16-year old girls, 3-year old toddlers, the elderly, the weak, rather than a real opponent.
    2. If Israel attacks Iran, Iran will launch all its missiles onto Israel, as will Hezbollah (100,000-150,000 of them) from the north, and with such a deluge Israel will be toast. Israel could launch its nuclear missiles against Iran, but not against Lebanon as the nuclear fall-out would severely affect Israel too. And, despite Israel’s nuclear attack (if it were to happen), Iran would still be able to fire enough missiles at Israel to inflict enormous damage. There is no way any Israeli government could justify to the electorate the consequences in Israel of an attack on Iran.

    The US cannot possibly prevent Israel’s roasting during such a combined Iranian/Hezbollah attack, even if it were to destroy both Iran & Lebanon completely. That destruction would not happen because Russia would not allow it. In fact, Israel is the US’s soft underbelly in the Middle East: it could be wiped out literally without the US being able to prevent it. Israel & the US both know it, and THAT is what is driving Israeli generals and nationalist leaders crazy.

    The tables have turned in the Middle East: Israel & the US have lost, they know it but are, for now, refusing to accept that new reality.

    Oh and Saudi Arabia is a total non-entity, with a risible army that cannot even win against a rag-tag group of rebels in Yemen.

    1. So basically, Hezbollah and Iran getting stronger assures peace, because there is more of a balance of power, and Israel can no longer do whatever it wants.

  5. A no fly zone (US , Israeli or otherwise) wouldn’t be so hard to accomplish – but would involve conflict with the Russians (Bibi wouldn’t have the balls, Trump maybe).

    An offensive push from Jordan (Saudi Arabia), the Golan (Israel), and/or from Syrian Kurdistan (Kurds, US proxies, US) – to capture the southern half of Western Syria – Damascus-Homs – probably won’t be terribly costly (what will be costly – is the day after).

    Regarding what Israel will do – I’m of the school that Bibi is chickenshit (ala Goldberg and Obama) – and will do nothing of his own accord that take a risk. Bibi – in a natural state of affairs – prefers to do very little (but talk a great deal).

    The real wildcards are Trump and the Saudi crown prince.

  6. ‘No, Israel will not attack Iran, for 2 reasons…’

    I think the reason why Israel will not attack Iran is more subtle.

    If Israel herself simply attacks Iran, she makes herself a pariah. The rest of the world will break off relations with her, and even the US will be forced to mute her support.

    The idea is to get the US to attack Iran. Then we’re in it together with Israel, we both become pariahs, and she has us all to herself. It’s a short-sighted policy that assumes our power is eternal and infinite regardless of how badly it is misused, and that the American people can be fooled forever, but as far as I can tell that is the idea.

    This is not, of course, to rule out variations on the theme. Israel could ‘strike back’ after a black op that gave her apparent justification and ensured the US would be in close support. However, two conditions will almost certainly be sought; first, that Israel not simply be an obvious and lonely aggressor, and second, that wherever she goes, the US follows too.

    Israel is hardly our ally; that mistakes the relationship. But it all is a bit like a Texas cattle drive. We’re the cows and Israel is the cowboy. She controls and directs us, but the whole enterprise depends on us following along. She can’t just ride off to Dodge City by herself. That serves no purpose at all.

    1. : Colin Wright: why would Israel become a pariah by attacking Iran? There are plenty of countries that hate Iran so an attack on the country would be welcome. Besides, nobody dares to criticise Israel, never mind breaking off relations and that is because of 1 fear only: getting stamped as antisemitic.

      1. ‘ Colin Wright: why would Israel become a pariah by attacking Iran?’

        Go ahead and attack Iran and see what happens. In fact, use a nuke. I earnestly recommend this course of action.

    2. Colin, why this habit of referring to Israel as a woman? Is ‘she’ a damsel in distress, or something? You don’t have to turn ‘her’ into a ‘he’ either. Neutral ‘it’ would be just fine.

      1. ‘…You don’t have to turn ‘her’ into a ‘he’ either. Neutral ‘it’ would be just fine.’

        Are there any other strictures you wish to impose?

          1. Okay. I refer to Israel as a ‘her’ because there are some traces of gender left in English grammar, and countries are usually feminine. Elizabeth did ask. She’s welcome to use ‘it’ if she likes. It wouldn’t occur to me to object.

        1. It does not have to do with grammar (English does not have grammatical gender), but with style. As a writing style it is considered old fashioned and quaint. (“I was in England for 2 weeks, and I really loved her!”)


          A weird ‘she’ now and then, who cares, but the thing is, you use it so often (5 times in your first two sentences alone) that it started to grate. But please go ahead if you prefer that style.

          1. ‘As a writing style it is considered old fashioned and quaint. (“I was in England for 2 weeks, and I really loved her!”)’

            Perhaps inconsistently, in that sentence, I would say ‘it.’

            I think it’s a matter of whether the country is viewed as a passive object, or as an actor (actress)? As a passive object, ‘it’ has nice scenery. As an actor, ‘she’ sends a fleet to protect ‘her’ interests. That may be more inconsistent still, but there it is.

            I don’t see the usage as ‘old-fashioned and quaint,’ but simply as a matter of not caring to pander to political correctness carried to the point of absurdity. Perhaps it will all go the way of ‘who’ rather than ‘that,’ etc; but in the meantime, I’ll carry on with what strikes me as good English.

  7. ‘…Not to mention that Iran’s key role in supporting the Assad regime makes it a rich target for war hawks like the ones I mentioned above…’

    The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

    In this case, our handlers seem to have decided that the way to US-Iran war is through Syria. There’s something manufactured about this whole ‘poison gas attack’ episode. The attack was hardly necessary, and given world reaction to previous episodes, it was patently stupid. It’s possible Syria and HER handlers were this dumb, but I’m suspicious.

  8. …Maybe just US-Hezbollah War. Israel and Saudi Arabia may be willing to settle for us reprising Iraq in Syria and Lebanon. That’d help to explain that curious episode where Crown Prince kidnapped Lebanon’s president-or-whatever-he-was.

    …morality aside, I’m about as attracted to the idea of war with Hezbollah as I would be by the prospect of trimming a weasel’s toenails. Hezbollah may be small, but it has sharp little teeth, and it can bite.

  9. Israel’s ability to dominate and Terrorise the region is coming to an end.

    It will have to come to peace arrangements with it’s neighbors which will include withdrawing from the Syrian Golan and giving up it’s Apartheid in Palestine.

    Only when Israel realised it has the Same Human Rights, not more than the others, will it move towards peace.

    Let’s hope that it not a War that finally convinced Israel to do the right thing.

    War is, and has always been, Israel’s choice. Time for the Alternative.

    1. Hola Nils,

      “Only when Israel realised it has the Same Human Rights, not more than the others, will it move towards peace.”

      But Israel’s neighbours have human rights problems as great, or greater than Israel. How can you expect Israel to make peace with, say, a government that gasses it’s own children, or a country run by religious fanatics.

      That makes no sense. Or maybe you can explain it to me.

      1. @ Frank: Hi to our new resident hasbarist. Frank, read the comment rules carefully and respect them during your stay with us. Israel has a horrible human rights record and any Arab frontline state could make the same excuse as you offer in distrusting Israel’s trustworthiness. Countries don’t make peace with angels, nor do you have to be an angel in order to sign a peace agreement. Plenty of sleazy countries and individuals sign agreements and honor them. Israel, if it ever does, would be one of them.

        Do us a favor Frank and try to make your hasbara a little bit more imaginative. Don’t plow ground that’s been plowered scores of times before here. If you do, we may have to recommend you return to Hasbara Central for retraining.

  10. ‘Israel’s ability to dominate and Terrorise the region is coming to an end.’

    If only. On the contrary, Israel’s ability to dominate and terrorize the region is greater than it has ever been.

    She can bomb Syria at will now — no one even raises an eyebrow. I’m confident she had a great deal to do with Morsi being replaced by a government in Egypt more pleasing to herself. Israeli and Zionist billionaires were the biggest contributors to the campaigns of BOTH candidates in the last US election. Now she’s even getting Britain to toe the line.

    Israel’s riding high, wide, and handsome, fella. It can’t last forever, of course, and Zionist hubris will tumble her off her horse sooner or later.

    We can only hope it’s sooner — and it could well happen. But don’t kid yourself. Israel is more powerful than she ever was before.

  11. Some hope after all. This from Middle East Eye:

    ‘Syria strike may be a blow to Trump’s right-wing base

    Conservative commentators and far-right activists are turning on Trump for considering military response in Syria…’

    The government and chattering classes may have been well-house-broken, but the great unwashed still keep getting off the reservation. All those ‘deplorables’ — however to bring them to heel?

  12. Haaretz demonstrates an unexpected gift for understatement.

    ‘Trump Adviser Bolton Coordinated U.S.-led Strike in Syria With Israel.’

    No doubt he did.

  13. Wahh!

    In his criticism of Trump’s attack on Syria in The Atlantic, Eliot Cohen argues that Trump’s attack was grossly inadequate:

    ‘…In this case it would have been air attacks to smash the Syrian air-defense system, destroy helicopters and aircraft, and above all kill a good number of the men who conducted these attacks and the men who ordered them. It would probably have killed some Russians, Iranians, and Hezbollah militia members too. Not proportionally, even then, but something closer to justice, and more importantly, a use of force with a sound strategic purpose…’

    But…jeepers. That would bring us into conflict with Iran and Hezbollah.

    …and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Eliot Cohen is a prominent Neo-Con, and one of the founders of the ‘Project for an New American Century.’

    Go figure.

  14. See Eliot Cohen in the Atlantic: the Neo-Cons are decidedly chagrined Trump didn’t take advantage of this opportunity to start a war with Iran.

    …and here’s the Jerusalem Post: decidedly all dressed up and ready to go to the beach.


    The whole thing stinks.

  15. How come the word massacre doesn’t appear once here?
    You use it multiple times in your article about Gaza demonstrations but here you use the very settle word chemical attack.

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