"It is now clear that there will almost certainly be strikes by the US against Syrian targets in coordination with France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and that the scope of this attack will be much greater than last year."
I don’t think I have a reputation for panicking. But I do think that we are now at probably the most dangerous point in world affairs since Russian and NATO troops faced off at Pristina Airport in 1999, if not since the Cold War.
It is now clear that there will almost certainly be strikes by the US against Syrian targets in coordination with France, Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, and that the scope of this attack will be much greater than last year.
Naval force capable of a cruise missile strike is already off the coast of Syria, namely the destroyer USS Donald Cook and the cruise missile submarine USS Georgia. The destroyer Laboon will soon join up with them, while Carrier Strike Group 8 (USS Harry S. Truman) will be in the area in a week’s time.
The French frigate Aquitaine is also in the area, and British forces in Cyprus are allegedly mobilizing for strikes.
Russian Su-24′s have harassed the Donald Cook and Aquitaine, and the Black Sea Fleet has been placed on combat alert. Several senior officials have said there will be military retaliation if Russian troops are targeted, although there have been no clear commitments even as regards that. Current Russian naval forces in the area include two Kilo submarines. From my limited research, the Moskva cruiser is out of theater.
Trump has canceled scheduled visits to Latin America to instead “oversee the American response to Syria”, while James Mattis has canceled visits to Arizona and California.
Civilian overflights over Syria have completely ceased as Eurocontrols declares a no fly zone over the East Mediterranean for the next 72 hours.
The US and Russia vetoed each others Douma investigation resolutions at the UN Security Council. The reason Russia vetoed is that the American version had a reference to Chapter VII, which would have opened an avenue for the US to go to war against Syria – that is, for the same reasons it vetoed the US resolutions in 2017. The Libyan experience taught Russia to pay attention to wording.
While the US “welcomes” the OCPW mission to establish the facts on the ground, it openly says it will not affect the US decision on a response to Syria (sic). What can one say? At least they’re utterly forthright in their pretensions to exceptionalism.
There has been a remarkable show of unity over this issue in Europe, and not just the usual suspects. Days after approving it, Angela Merkel chose today to announce that Nord Stream 2 must preserve a transit role for the Ukraine. This kind of annuls its entire purpose and puts the capstone on the Kremlin’s dismal gas policy and outreach to Germany.
Meanwhile, Congress is already moving to enact further sanctions against Russia (forbids transactions relating to new Russian sovereign debt).
The Western media is beating the drumbeat for war, and unlike in 2003, during the Libyan Crisis, or even last year, I see hardly any skepticism about it in the comments. The few skeptics are invariably labeled Russian trolls. I am really getting the impression that the degree of popular hate in the West towards Russia is approaching what Allied citizens must have felt towards Nazi Germany by 1941. Kudos where its due: Neoliberalism.txt has programmed its peons well.
I still don’t think this will boil over into a major war, but the chances of that are now well above 0%.
If it does, though, it will constitute a stupidly appropriate end to Western civilization as we know it. As one commenter here has noted, current decision-makers make the statesmen of 1914 seem sane and rational.
Source: The Unz Review