22 April 2018   Leave a comment

Scott Ritter was one of the UN inspectors prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.  At the time he did not believe that Iraq was developing weapons of mass destruction, the argument used by the George W. Bush Administration to justify the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  He has written a very detailed analysis of the evidence used by the US, France, and Great Britain used to justify the recent attack on Syria.  Ritter has an extraordinary amount of information that raises serious questions about the way the evidence to support the attack was assembled and interpreted.  The article is a great example of investigative reporting which will likely not receive the attention it deserves.  Another analyst, Paul Pillar, who worked at the US CIA at the time of the Iraq invasion and who argued that the evidence supporting the invasion was “cherry-picked” has written an essay on the “non-accomplishments” of the Syrian strike.  He argues that:

“But a glaring fact in the recent history of the Syrian war is that one year ago the Trump administration fired a salvo of cruise missiles for the same ostensible purpose, and that attack evidently failed to have much, if any, deterrent effect on Assad.  The administration is emphasizing that the new attack, which used 105 missiles, is larger than the earlier one, which used 59.  So 46 more cruise missiles is supposed to make the difference between deterring or not deterring a regime fighting to defeat rebels and regain control of its country’s territory?”

The two essays together raise serious questions about whether the US has anything close to a policy on the conflict in Syria.


Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said that one of Iran’s options if the US pulls out of the nuclear agreement–the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action–signed with Russia, China, Great Britain, France, and Germany, would be to restart its nuclear program.  US President Trump has threatened to pull out of the agreement unless the parties can fix what he describes as “flaws” in the agreement: 1) that Iran stop its missile development program; and 2) that Iran stop funding Hamas and Hezbollah which the US considers terrorist organizations.   Zarif made the statement in an interview with CBS News.  A resumption of nuclear enrichment by Iran would likely precipitate a harsh reaction from Israel, an ominous development since the two countries are already at the brink of war.  The oil markets are also nervous if the US re-imposes oil sanctions on Iranian oil if the US pulls out of the agreement.

Posted April 22, 2018 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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