Countercurrents.org | 07 April, 2017
With the pounding of 59 Tomahawk land attack cruise missiles on Shayrat airbase in Syria the Empire has widened its aggression in the strategically crucial country. The sounds of destruction announce imperialism’s and aggression, interference and intervention. This is the sound of “peace” imperialism likes to impose on peoples of other countries.
Speaking from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, Donald Trump, the US president, branded Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, a “dictator”, and called on “all civilized nations to join” the US “in seeking to end this slaughter and bloodshed in Syria and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.” He said “as long as America stands for justice, then peace and harmony will in the end prevail.”
But who has given the President of America the right to define “dictator”, “civilized nations”, “justice”, “peace” and “harmony”? Is it the “peace and justice”, which have been showered on the Afghan people? Is it the “peace and harmony”, which have been handed out to the Libyan people? Is it not the “civilized nations” – the imperial powers –that carried on acts of armed intervention in Iraq and Libya? The “civilized nations” formulation of arguments is now exposed. None forget the “arguments” formulated by the “civilized nations” prior to their Iraq aggression. Now, the missiles launched from the USS Porter and USS Ross is having their “arguments and logic” in Syria: defending a “vital national security interest”, as Trump has said. It’s the “vital national security interest” of the Empire, not of other countries; and “civilized nations” “should” step forward to defend that “vital national interest”. The Empire is the final investigator and judge as Trump said: “There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons”. Hence, there remains “no” space for multi-national investigations and further arguments. This is imperialist verdict; none to differ!
“Arguments and logic” imperialism relies on and inner-equations that determine imperialism’s path of aggression are also spelled by the missiles-attack on Syria launched from destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean. Recent developments in Syria and its surrounding region, and within the Empire are evidences of the imperialist logic.
What the other facts and arguments tell?
 Following a chemical weapon attack in East Ghouta in Syria in 2013, the Syrian authorities agreed to transfer its chemical weapons to international control for destruction so that these weapons don’t fall into the hands of militants operating in the country. Syria also joined the Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons following the chemical weapon attack. The Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said in January 2016 that all chemical weapons in Syria had been destroyed. Those were destroyed on board a US vessel, and were destroyed under UN supervision.
 Following US vice-president’s recent claims on chemical weapons in Syria the Russian foreign ministry reminded US that all chemical weapons were taken out of Syria by mid-2014 with US assistance. So, there are “no grounds to claim that the 2013 Russia-US deal did not work out”. Russian foreign ministry’s Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department Director said: The main burden fell on Damascus and Russia. But the US also made important contribution.
 Walid Muallem, Syrian foreign minister, said Thursday: The accusations against the Syrian army using chemical weapons make no sense since Damascus has been succeeding in fighting on all fronts. He questioned: In such a context, would it be logical for us to use chemical weapons?
 Who shall be the beneficiary of the chemical weapons attack? It’s the opponents of Assad. Shall Assad engage in such act that benefits his opponents?
Doesn’t fairness demand that there should be a multi-national, full-fledged investigation of the reported chemical weapons attack in the vicinity of the Khan Shaykhun settlement in the Idlib province on April 4? The OPCW is in the process of gathering and analyzing information from all available sources. In this context isn’t the US missile attack an imperialist intervention?
The sources of available information on reported chemical weapon attack are the Syrian Observatory and the White Helmets. The Observatory’s capacity to monitor incidents within Syria is questionable. Questions are also being raised about the legitimacy of The White Helmets.
But, it seems, the Empire is always right whatever the source of information are. The Empire is always correct despite its past records false of claims about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction”. Moreover, has the world forgotten the Gulf of Tonkin incident?
Other twists are there in the Syria-missile-attack-development.
Only days ago, the White House told “the Syrian people should choose their destiny” and “Assad must go”-policy is over. Similar opinions were expressed by other US senior leaders. What has happened within days that led to the missile attack on the basis of unverified reports?
After the missile attack, it was told that the US had given an advanced warning to Russia about the missile strike. But, later, Rex Tillerson, the US secretary of state, said in a statement: The US did not communicate with Russia either before or after it conducted a missile strike in Syria.
Does this signify anything?
Is there push and pulls by factions within the Empire?
The developments in Syria demand attention as many countries face threat of imperialist intervention. There’s no reason to imagine that country “x” or country “y” is immune from imperialist intervention. Market size, resources to be plundered, geographical location, relations with the world bosses act as factors for imperialist intervention. Imperialist role is forgotten by many while raising voices of opposition.
Farooque Chowdhury writes from Dhaka.