We are edging closer to the neo-conservative dream of total conflagration in the Muslim Middle East. Despite only 11 percent public support for US military intervention in Syria, a reluctant President Barack Obama is being pushed into escalation.
The given reason is that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons “on a small scale multiple times in the past year,” according to the White House. Intelligence officials say 100-130 people died from the attacks. Even if the chemical testing proves accurate, that can only be a pretext in a conflict, which has claimed at least 93,000 lives and seen barbarism on both sides.
The real reason appears to be that the balance of forces has changed somewhat in Assad’s favor since the recent victory at Qusayr by his troops and their Hezbollah allies. Fearing the collapse of rebel forces, the US is stepping onto the treadmill of escalation. Whatever steps are taken now by the US and NATO, of course, if they choose, can be countered by Russia, Iran, and Hezbollah.
Obama’s reluctance is reflected in a statement by his adviser Ben Rhodes, responding to hawks like Senator John McCain: