From the headline I trust everyone involved can spot this as being an opinion piece, as I don’t have sources inside the Kremlin, or inside the White House, or inside the Damascus capitol. I can’t prove any the assertions I’m about to make; I can only lay out the facts and connect those dots in the most logical way, and then leave it all to you to interpret. But I’m pretty sure I’m right when I say that Bashar al-Assad’s gas attack on his own Syrian people was timed for a reason.
Let’s start with three existing premises that are generally not in dispute:
1) Russia wants Assad to remain in power, largely for reasons of oil revenue (source: CNN).
2) Donald Trump will not go against Russia’s wishes on Syria, because he never goes against Russia on anything (source: anyone who watched the 2016 election unfold).
3) Trump’s approval rating is down to 34% (source: latest IBD/TIPP poll). and is in danger of passing the point of no return, effectively his presidency.
Then there are today’s two Syria-related events which are difficult to separate from each other:
4) Today, Assad launched a stunningly brazen chemical gas attack on his own people (source: New York Times).
5) Then tonight, Rachel Maddow reported on her MSNBC show that Trump has already secretly positioned hundreds of U.S. grounds troops in Syria.
Here’s what I think is going on: Trump is clearly about to take military action in Syria. But that U.S. military action is not going to be against Assad, because Russia wants Assad to remain in power. Trump will either attack the rebels fighting against Assad, or he’ll copycat the Kremlin’s playbook by pretending he’s fighting against what little is left of ISIS in Syria but actually targeting the rebels instead.
So what on earth was today’s horrific chemical gas attack about? Assad is a brutal genocidist, but based on his pattern just enough self restraint to retain the Kremlin’s backing, I can’t see him doing something like this without Vladimir Putin’s approval. So why would Putin allow this to happen right now? The net result is that images of dead and mutilated Syrian children are being broadcast into the homes of Americans as we speak. It’s created the general sense of “Maybe we should be doing something over there.” But the average American hasn’t been paying close enough attention to the Syrian civil war to know that the solution is for Assad to be removed, or even necessarily catch on to who caused this attack today.
I think Putin, Assad, and Trump are betting on this chemical attack motivating the American public to decide it’s okay with American military intervention in Syria. The trio is merely gambling that most Americans won’t notice they’re entering the war in favor of the genocidal Assad, instead of against him. And Trump believes he can boost his approval rating by initiating some winnable military action in Syria, whereby he wipes out the rebels that Russia wants gone anyway, and then announces that he’s instead wiped out ISIS. And again, he hopes the average American isn’t aware that ISIS was mostly wiped out in Syria during the Obama administration.
The net result of this would be that Russia gets to keep its oil arrangements in Syria intact, Assad gets to be finally rid of the rebels who have long been trying to overthrow him, and Trump gets a boost to his approval rating for successful military (supposedly) against terrorists. So all three of them would win. But the U.S. military would lose, being sent into harm’s way to fight the wrong people for no valid reason. And the Syrian people would lose, because Assad is the worst thing that’s ever happened to them, and the rebels are their last hope.
There are other ways in which the above facts and events can be pieced together. Some of you will come up with different conclusions. That’s good, because I’d like to be wrong about this. But I don’t think I am. And if I am right, we need to be sounding all the alarms on this right now before Trump manages to get away with it. Contribute to Palmer Report
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report