Syrian children gassed: is Assad a suicidal maniac?
From Mr Alexander Boot:
The civil war in Syria is imposing heavy demands on our credulity. Mine is stretched to breaking point by Wednesday’s alleged chemical attack.
Why would Assad do a silly thing like that? Let’s consider the options.
One possible answer is that, in the clinical parlance, Assad must have a screw loose. The man is positively bent on suicide.
The fortunes of civil war have begun to favour him, with the enthusiastic but poorly organised rebel forces retreating all over the place. Any sane man would be satisfied with that.
But since we now know that Assad is a suicidal maniac, he couldn’t take the situation lying down. Lacking the nerve to shoot himself, he had to rely on others to do the job. What could he do for the rebels to be guaranteed to kill him?
Assad must have looked deep into his own soul and rephrased the question to make it more specific. “What can I do to lose the war and suffer the same fate as my Ba’athist mate Saddam?”
Clearly things couldn’t be allowed to develop naturally: his army was about to rout the chaps whose dietary preferences include human organs.
Assad’s only hope for assisted suicide was to draw Western powers into the conflict. Alas, while these powers were willing to support the rebels morally and materially, they seemed reluctant to commit their own forces.
The feeling there was that, after 11 years of futile turmoil, thousands of Western lives lost and billions wasted, Western electorates wouldn’t accept yet another asinine war. Unless, of course, some cataclysmic event could mobilise the West’s public opinion.
Once Assad got that far in his calculations, he knew exactly what he had to do.
If it took a cataclysm to draw the West in, the surest way for Assad to commit suicide was to deliver such a cataclysm on a platter. All he had to do was choose the right method and the right moment.
Now what would be the right method? Oh yes, didn’t Obama say that using chemical weapons would constitute crossing “the red line”? That’s it then. Sorted. Chemical weapons it is.
And the right moment? Easy-peasy. Didn’t the UN weapons inspectors arrive in Damascus on Sunday? Well then, let’s give them a couple of days to get settled and then put on a show for their benefit.
Easier done than said. Assad patiently waited until Wednesday and then launched a Sarin attack in the Ghouta suburb of Damascus, killing, as his opponents claim, hundreds of people, including women and children.
Job done. Or is it?
Yes, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius did threaten “a reaction of force” over the chemical attacks. If proven.
Yes, the US expressed its “deep concern” over the use of Sarin. If confirmed.
And yes, William Hague said the attacks would constitute a “shocking escalation in the use of chemical weapons in Syria”. If validated.
If, if, if! How can a chap kill himself if the potential agents of his demise continue to beat about the bush? Why can’t they invade first and ask questions later? The way they did in Iraq? Assad is getting desperate.
This, in broad strokes leavened with poetic licence, is the version of the events we’re expected to accept as real. No one has actually mentioned Assad’s suicidal tendencies, but one struggles to find any other plausible reason for his action.
Oh yes, one could think of another possible explanation: no Sarin attack has actually happened. What we’re witnessing is a publicity campaign launched by the rebels who are obviously poor losers.
This is of course conjecture, but the old investigative principle of Cui bono? seems to add weight to such an interpretation.
There we have it: either Assad is a suicidal maniac or the rebels are lying. If there’s another explanation, I’d like to know it.
Alexander Boot is a writer on political, cultural and religious themes