Early this morning, EmptyWheel’s Jim White published a fairly quick read (summary) covering what I think might be one of the most disconcerting aspects of the entire Syrian story and (specifically as it relates to) the factual chronology of America’s participation in the affair.
Then again, as you’ll realize after you read this (entire) brief piece, by clicking upon the link at the top of blockquote, immediately below, the fact that the U.S. has been an “active participant” in this horrific episode of ongoing Mideast unrest--dating back to at least November 2012--isn’t even near the top of my personal list of “disconcerting facts” about the entire matter. It’s the ”where” and ”when” regarding the positions of U.S.-trained rebels that’s most alarming of all. (Hopefully, you’ll read the entire post to get the gist of what I’m merely excerpting here.)
Why is Obama Changing the Date and Size of First CIA Death Squads to Enter Syria?Also quite worthy of a read is Kossack Ray Pensador’s post from a couple of hours ago, covering a significant portion of the media reports that serve as the basis for some aspects of the deeper dive that EmpyWheel’s Jim White reported upon (as noted above), earlier this morning.
Wednesday September 4, 2013 8:34 am
There is a very interesting point thrown in as a small tidbit in Monday’s New York Times story on Barack Obama securing the support of John McCain for a military strike on Syria:Officials said that in the same conversation, which included Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, Mr. Obama indicated that a covert effort by the United States to arm and train Syrian rebels was beginning to yield results: the first 50-man cell of fighters, who have been trained by the C.I.A., was beginning to sneak into Syria.Taken at face value, this version of the story would have us believe that the first group of 50 trained by the CIA was presumably still in the process of “sneaking” into Syria on Monday. But the timeline of US training for these fighters is much more complex than that. Some foul-mouthed blogger noted back in May that this training program had already been underway for some time and the LA Times caught up with her in June, disclosing that the program began at least as far back as November 2012 on US bases in Jordan and Turkey.
The LA Times article details that the training is carried out by both special operations troops and CIA personnel. That would put this program squarely within the US tradition of training and releasing death squads that seem to be as adept at killing innocent civilians as they are at killing military targets. We have seen details of their operation in Iraq and Afghanistan under David Petraeus’ vaunted COIN program. There is no information in the LA Times article regarding the death squads entering Syria at that time. Reading between the lines of the article suggests that the squads were in a holding pattern at that point, awaiting better weapons from the US.
In direct contradiction to Obama’s Monday statement to McCain and Graham on the timing of the entry of the first US-trained death squads into Syria, we have this report from the Jerusalem Post that quotes a story first reported in Le Figaro:The first group of 300 handpicked Free Syrian Army soldiers crossed the border on August 17 into the Deraa region, and a second group was deployed on August 19, the paper reported.Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta...
The paper quoted a researcher at the French Institute for Strategic Analysis as saying the trained rebels group was passing through Ghouta, on their way to Damascus.
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UPDATE #2 (6:45 AM EDT, 9-5-13):
Again, from the comments, Kossack lotlizard has a must-read, IMHO. There are literal/literary links, historically, regarding the origin(s) of the Syrian version of the "death squad" meme (I'm referencing the meme, only); and they hit very close to home. The LINK IS HERE. (Warning: it's NOT for the faint of heart; or, for folks that have issues with reality-based blogging--especially when the historical reality/reference is extremely brutal.)
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UPDATE #1 (6:30 PM EDT, 9-4-13):
Worthy of republishing, IMHO, from the comments in this post....
Interesting opening paragraphs from the linked (2+ / 0-)
... Jerusalem Post piece:Guerrilla fighters trained by the West began moving towards Damascus in mid-August, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Thursday.Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.
Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime's alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.
by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:13:10 PM EDT
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Now contrast that with what White wrote (end of (1+ / 0-)
... your blockquote, above):Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta...
In other words, White insinuates that these CIA-trained fighters were the ones who may have launched the chemical weapons attacks shortly after arriving in Ghouta, while the Jerusalem Post story he cites (which cites the Le Figaro story) claims that the Syrian government launched the chemical attack specifically to kill these CIA-trained fighters who had just entered Ghouta.
Calling other DKos members "weenies" is a personal insult and therefore against site rules.
by Bob Johnson on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:17:32 PM EDT
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I'm going to include this in my post... (0+ / 0-)
...if you don't mind. And, no, White goes to great lengths NOT to insinuate anything here, IMHO. The fact remains that US/Jordanian/Israel-trained "rebels" were in ("passed through") Ghouta at least 48 hours prior to the CW attack.
The over-arching REALITY of this story, IMHO, is precisely as I indicated in THIS COMMENT, upthread.
There are a tremendous amount of UNKNOWNS here. For that matter, and for all we know, "the rebels" may have left some of their group behind, in Ghouta, and they may have evidence that Assad's army, did--indeed--deliver the CW attack!
The bottom line is the entire situation has become notably MORE "disconcerting" with the facts presented by White taken into account--at least much moreso than it was prior to those facts been more widely known, prior to today.
"I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham
by bobswern on Wed Sep 04, 2013 at 06:33:30 PM EDT
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