Obama NSC expected to weigh Syria military options on Friday
Arshad Mohammed, Jonathan Landay, Reuters, Oct 13 2016
Steppin Fetchit arrives at O’Hare, Oct 9 2016. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/ Reuters)
FASCHINGSTEIN – Obama’s NSC is expected to meet on Friday to consider their military and other options in Syria, boxtops said. The hawks argue that Pindostan must act more forcefully in Syria or risk losing what influence it still has over ‘moderate’ rebels and its Arab, Kurdish and Turkish vassals, the boxtops told Reuters. One set of options includes direct Pindosi military action such as airstrikes on Syrian military bases, munitions depots or radar and anti-aircraft bases, said one boxtop, but Russian and Syrian forces are often mingled there, raising the possibility of a direct confrontation with Russia. The boxtops said they consider it unlikely that Obama will order airstrikes on Syrian government targets, and they stressed that he may not make any decisions at all. Friday’s planned meeting is the latest in a long series of internal debates about Syria. Its aim could be to bolster the battered ‘moderate’ rebels so they can weather what is now widely seen as the inevitable fall of Aleppo. It also might temper a sense of betrayal among ‘moderate’ rebels, which might deter them from migrating to Nusra. Foreign ministers will meet in Lausanne on Saturday, possibly joined by Turks, Toads, Thanis and and even (reputedly) Iranians, but the boxtops voiced little hope for success. Obama faces other decisions about whether to deepen military involvement in the Middle East, notably in Yemen and Iraq. Earlier Thursday, the Pindo Navy launched cruise missiles at three coastal radar sites in areas of Yemen controlled by Houthi forces. In Iraq, boxtops are debating whether government forces will need more support both during and after their campaign to retake Mosul. Some argue the Iraqis now cannot retake the city without significant help from Kurdish, Sunni and Shi’ite militias, and that their participation could trigger religious and ethnic conflict in the city. In Syria, Pindo policy is to target Daesh first, a decision that has opened it to charges that it is doing nothing to prevent the humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and particularly in Aleppo. Renewed bombing of rebel-held eastern Aleppo has killed more than 150 people this week, rescue workers said. Anthony Cordesman of CSIS suggested that Pindo failure to act earlier in Syria, and in Aleppo in particular, had narrowed Obama’s options, saying:
There’s only so long you can ignore your options before you don’t have any.
Pindostan launches missile strikes against Yemen
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Oct 14 2016
With the Pindosi Navy’s firing of Tomahawk cruise missiles against targets on Yemen’s Red Sea Coast early Thursday, Washington has embarked on another major escalation of a spiraling campaign of military aggression aimed at imposing Pindo imperialist hegemony throughout the Middle East and around the globe. The attack against Yemen is only one front in Pindo military operations that stretch from Afghanistan to Iraq, Syria and beyond. It has been carried out with no public debate, much less even the pretense of obtaining the consent of the Pindo sheeple. With the Pindo election less than a month away, neither the Democrat or the Republican candidate, nor for that matter the media, has shown the slightest inclination to divert from the degraded scandal-mongering that dominates both campaigns to discuss the implications of military action that could rapidly drag the world into a major regional and even global war. Obama approved the missile strikes, but made no speech nor even issued a perfunctory written explanation for the Pindo attack. The Pentagon has provided the only Pindo explanation for the missile attacks on Yemen, claiming that they represented “limited self-defense strikes conducted to protect our personnel, our ships and our freedom of navigation in this important maritime passageway.”
According to the Pindo military’s account, the targeting of Yemeni territory was a response to two separate incidents in which missiles were fired from Yemen at the USS Mason, part of a three-ship Pindo flotilla patrolling the Bab al-Mandeb Strait, the strategic passageway that separates the Arabian Peninsula from the Horn of Africa and links the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Some 4.7 mb/d of oil were shipped through the strait on average last year, much of it bound for China, along with 40% of global maritime trade. Pindo imperialism is determined to establish its control over the narrow waterway as a chokepoint to be employed against its rivals and to assure that its navy has the ability to traverse this strategic passage and deny access to all others. Both the Houthi rebel movement that controls the Yemeni capital of Sanaa and the Yemeni army which is aligned with this movement have denied that they targeted Pindo warships, and have denounced the cruise missile attack as an act of aggression. There is no reason anyone should accept the Pentagon’s account as good coin. No evidence whatsoever has been produced to substantiate the claim that the Houthis were behind the missile attacks on the Mason, or indeed that any missiles were fired at all. There are other actors in Yemen with motives for attacking Pindo warships. These include AQAP, formerly branded by Faschingstein as the world’s most dangerous terrorist group, but now fighting in de facto alliance with Pindostan against the Houthi rebels. Then there is the Toads, who have waged a savage bombing campaign against Yemen since Mar 2015 and are responsible for the lion’s share of the 10,000 Yemeni deaths since then.
While Thursday’s missile strikes marked the first direct Pindosi attack on targets associated with the Houthi-led government in Sanaa, the Pentagon has provided the logistical and intelligence support, including the aerial refueling of warplanes, without which the murderous Toad campaign would be impossible. Moreover, Pindostan has poured a whopping $115b in arms into the Toads since Obama took office, resupplying bombs and missiles dropped on Yemeni homes, schools and hospitals. However, the Obama administration has recently expressed mild reservations about this slaughter, suggesting it might reduce its involvement. A missile attack falsely attributed to the Houthis would serve to draw Pindostan more directly into the war. That the missile attacks on the Pindosi Navy took place at all is a question that should be approached with deep skepticism. There is a precedent for fabricated military engagements at sea being used as the pretext for a major escalation of Pindo militarism. In 1964, a supposed attack by North Vietnamese gunboats on a Pindo warship in the Gulf of Tonkin was invoked as the rationale for passing the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, granting Pres Johnson authorization for the rapid escalation of the Pindo war in Vietnam. A year after the murky events, Johnson cynically admitted:
For all I know, our navy was shooting at whales out there.
The main evidence cited by Washington for Houthi involvement in the alleged missile attacks stands as an indictment of Pindo imperialism itself. The alleged attacks have been reported in the wake of the savage Oct 8 bombing of a funeral by Toad warplanes that claimed at least 155 lives and left another 500 wounded. Fragments of the 500 lb bombs used to massacre the mourners, who included senior officials in the Houthi governing authority as well as children, had markings identifying them as Pindo-supplied. Faschingstein’s claim is that the attacks on the Pindo warship were carried out in retaliation. The attribution of this motive to the Houthis only underscores Pindo imperialism’s own guilt in relation to war crimes carried out in league with the despotic oil monarchies of the Gulf against one of the poorest nations on the face of the planet. The year-and-a-half-old bombing campaign has destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and left 14 million people, more than half the country’s population, suffering from hunger. This criminal war has exposed every pretext employed by Faschingstein to justify its interventions in the Middle East, from the “war on terror” to “human rights.” As in Yemen, so in Iraq, Libya and Syria, Pindo interventions are waged to secure geostrategic domination and prepare for far more dangerous confrontations with Russia and China. The threat that these separate conflicts, along with those developing in Eastern Europe and the South China Sea, will coalesce into a third world war grows by the hour. Without a determined political struggle to unite the working class in a fight against war and its source, the capitalist system, such a global catastrophe is inevitable.