August 23, 2013: No End
Or so it seems, with the obscenities in Syria growing ever greater. Reports -- as yet not fully confirmed -- have surfaced that Assad used gas against people -- sleeping people including children -- in the rebel-held area of Ghouta, killing over 1,000. This is the most horrendous charge against him yet. Previously reports were of perhaps 40 killed in any given attack.
And the world? The world, disinclined to be involved, will do nothing.
The US is concerned that the only way at this point to successfully secure Assad's chemical weapons would be via a full scale invasion, something that is not going to happen -- not the least of which because the Pentagon has estimated this would cost about $1 billion per month. Air attacks have been ruled out because of the danger of spreading toxins in the air.
As an analyst put it in the JPost, "Assad may have determined that the toxicity of his war is too much for the Americans to handle."
What the White House has done is to call for a UN probe of the incident. But the UN, while expressing "concern" and calling for the need for "clarification," is not likely to set in place a full official probe -- in good part because China and Russia stand in the way. There are UN agents in Syria for other reasons.
According to Minister of International, Intelligence and Strategic Affairs Yuval Steinitz (Likud), speaking on Israel Radio yesterday, Israeli intelligence does believe there was a gas attack on Wednesday, although he did not indicate anything confirming what the rebels are claiming in terms of numbers.
Steinitz was highly critical of what he called the "lip service" of the international community" which "has failed to take any significant action to stop Assad from butchering his people. The U.N. is still busy investigating things that happened six months or a year ago, instead of investigating what happened yesterday. Moreover, investigating whether chemical weapons were used without looking into who used them is ridiculous."
To view Arlene Kushner's full report go to August 23, 2013: No End