Over the past few days Israel has conducted multiple unprovoked airstrikes against Syria, including on the capital of Damascus. Though both the Israeli and U.S. governments have refused to officially acknowledge the attacks, the purported pretext has been widely reported.
The U.S. is investigating accusations that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons on its own civilians to quell their uprisings. As ever there is no unified consensus, which has led to the Syrian government denying the U.S.’s accusations and “likening them to false accusations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction.” These Syrian officials attest that the U.S. would utilize such lies for an invasion similar to the Iraq invasion in 2004. It is true that U.S. officials have noted that if evidence surfaces confirming Syria’s use of chemical weapons then it would be a “game changer” and “all options [would then be] available.” The Syrian government fears that such tidbits foreshadow U.S. intervention.
Motives for the violent Western intervention in Syria — where since at least early 2012 the CIA has been sending large shipments of weapons to Sunni militants working with al-Qaida front Jabhat al-Nusra — predictably appear rooted in geostrategic, rather than humanitarian, interests. Iran recently secured a $10 billion pipeline deal with Syria and Iraq that the U.S. and its European allies bitterly opposed. The project would bring Iranian hydrocarbons to the Mediterranean as well as Russia, which has sought to expand its influence in the region’s energy development.