Big day in the Middle East: “U.N. weapons experts are due on Monday to inspect a site where poison gas killed many hundreds of people in Damascus suburbs, amid calls from Western capitals for military action to punish the world’s worst apparent chemical weapons attack in 25 years.” We’re informed subsequent shelling and warfare may have eroded the evidence.
Bit of a hitch, just as this newsletter is about to be sent out: “Vehicle of UN Syria ChemicalWeapons team hit by sniper fire. Team replacing vehicle & then returning to area.”
Sounds like our government’s convinced: [A senior Obama administration] official, in a written statement, said that “based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts and other facts gathered by open sources, the U.S. intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at this point that a chemical weapon was used by the Syrian regime against civilians in this incident.”
Airstrikes coming? “Royal Navy vessels are being readied to take part in a possible series of cruise missile strikes, alongside the United States, as military commanders finalise a list of potential targets. Government sources said talks between the Prime Minister and international leaders, including Barack Obama, would continue, but that any military action that was agreed could begin within the next week.”
I see everyone on the Right and their brothers giving Samantha Power grief about a spectacularly ill-timed Irish vacation:
Mystery solved. America’s ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power was in Ireland on a personal trip when she missed an emergency meeting on the alleged chemical gas attack in Syria, U.N. sources tell Fox News.
A day earlier, State Department officials were mum when asked for information on Power’s whereabouts. She had come under fire for missing Wednesday’s urgent U.N. Security Council meeting, where delegations weighed how to respond to charges that the Assad regime had just committed the deadliest chemical weapons attack in the country’s two-year civil war.
The meeting, and her absence, came just 19 days after Power assumed the U.N. leadership post.
Keep in mind, her boss is this guy, who was on his yacht the day Egypt’s military decided to hit CONTROL-ALT-DELETE on the Arab Spring:
“‘Here I come to save the day!’
That means that John Kerry’s on the way!
Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right, John Kerry will join the fight!
On the sea or on the land, he has the situation well in hand!”
Question: What’s really the bigger problem — that Power is texting in statements from her vacation, or that she actually thinks the United Nations is going to do anything serious in response to a Syrian chemical-weapons attack? Or, more specifically, anything that might actually influence the actions of Bashir Assad?
Oh, and if you’re one of those folks arguing the United States should steer clear of any role in the ever-widening, ever-worsening mess that was once known as Syria . . . well, too late:
As part of that, intelligence agents from Saudi Arabia, the U.S., Jordan and other allied states are working at a secret joint operations center in Jordan to train and arm handpicked Syrian rebels, according to current and former U.S. and Middle Eastern officials.
The CIA has put unspecified limits on its arming efforts. But the agency has been helping train rebels to better fight. Earlier this year it also began making salary payments to members of the Western-backed Free Syrian Army, U.S. and Arab officials said. There are now more CIA personnel at the Jordan base than Saudi personnel, according to Arab diplomats.
Americans in our part-time economy may have trouble finding salaries, but at least Free Syrian Army leaders can collect salaries — courtesy your tax dollars. But I’ll bet it’s just a matter of time before these guys start complaining that Obamacare loused up their health-care benefits, too.