[This is a collection of news updates on Syria compiled from multiple sources by the editors.]
Ahmed Jarba: We Will Block Arms From Extremists Because They Will Kill Us if We Don’t Hassan Hassan provides a run down of an interview conducted by Lebanese Television Channel (LBC) with the president of the Syrian opposition’s National Coalition.
How Will Hezbollah Respond to a Western Strike on Syria? Some sources close to Hezbollah share three possible scenarios with Al-Monitor.
New Fears for Syria’s Jihadists Charles Lister says “in recent days, a notable number of members of the online jihadist community -- some involved directly and others indirectly in the conflict in Syria -- have been somewhat fixated on a widespread fear that their leaders, personnel, and bases will also be the target of Tomahawk cruise missiles.”
To Strike, Not to Strike, or How to Strike Alisar Iram writes: “How have we, the Syrians, earned the reputation that our rebels on the ground are no more than Qaeda or Qaeda affiliates. Where did our Revolution vanish? How did the occupiers, Assad and the foreign Islamists, convince the world that we are no more than heart eaters, heavily bearded monsters and blood thirsty criminals, the bogies of nightmares and serial crimes?”
Il Faut Arreter Les Tueries en Syrie A brief interview with Salam Kawakibi, who comments on the latest Syria developments, including the suspected motives for the looming strike and the UK’s decision not to be involved in it.
US Strike on Syria An "Uncalculated Adventure": Jadaliyya Co-Editor Bassam Haddad on MSNBC“The only solution to this [crisis] is a political solution that the United States, as the most powerful country in history, not just on earth, can actually start by a serious discussion with the Russians and other players.”
Christopher Dickey, Fouad Ajami and Fran Townsend debate about the US’ motivations for intervening in Syria on Anderson Cooper’s 360 program, also echoing Haddad’s idea that various conversations across mainstream outlets are not conducive to a political compromise.
On Obama Seeking Congressional Approval
Obama’s Surprising (and Confusing) Latest Moves Richard Falk suggests that “in framing the issues at stake Obama set forth the fundamental policy choices in a rather incoherent manner.”
The Waiting Game Brian Whitaker says “Obama has further undermined the notion that we`re seeing a re-run of Bush`s Iraq war conspiracy.”
Obama, Congress and Syria Glenn Greenwald writes: “It`s a potent sign of how low the American political bar is set that gratitude is expressed because a US president says he will ask Congress to vote before he starts bombing another country that is not attacking or threatening the US.”
A Mystifying Lack of US Preparedness Fed Hof writes “the administration would do well now to focus on that which it has avoided totally to date: creating and implementing an objectives-based strategy that would, among other things, employ sustained military strikes to destroy or significantly degrade the ability of Bashar al-Assad’s regime to commit mass murder in Syria.”
Responses to U.K. Vote
Red Lines and Dangerous Incoherence: Syria and the International Community David Held and Kyle McNally suggest that the UK “took the view: no war without publicly justifiable evidence, an affirmative vote by the House of Commons, and legitimacy in international law via UN Security Council resolution.”
Welcoming the Vote of the British Parliament While Supporting the Syrian UprisingGilbert Achcar’s take on the decision.
Chemical Weapons Conversations/Narratives
Low-Key Swede in Spotlight of Chemical Attack InquiryScientist Ake Sellstrom is leading the UN investigation to prove the August 21 chemical weapons attack, a task that could give further hint to the perpetrator of the attacks, and “provide an alternative to the U.S. findings.”
Which Syrian Chemical Attack Account is More Credible? Jim Naureckas provides an interesting commentary on the claims of the U.S. government and those of a Minessota-based for-profit startup, which hold opposite narratives about the chemical weapons attack.
A Chilling Hypothesis While some have raised skepticism at the idea that the regime would have an incentive in conducting such an attack, Brian Whitaker draws an analogy with Saddam’s strategy to gas Kurdish villages in 1987.
Rush to Western Strike on Syria Slows, but Does Not Stall Following the news that the US intelligence services intercepted calls of panicked officials following the chemical weapons attack, Juan Cole writes: “The intercept would be consistent with local Baath chem warfare units routinely mixing a little deadly sarin gas into crowd control gas, killing small numbers of rebels with each deployment, but in this case making an error and getting the mix wrong.”
Don’t Expect Iran to Fight for Assad Meir Javedanfar argues that “Arak, the site of Iran’s heavy water reactor, as well as Iran’s other nuclear installations at Natanz and Fordo would become dangerously exposed to a potential future attack if Iran goes into war against the United States to protect Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.”
US Missile Strikes Could do More Damage Than West Had Believed Peter Beaumont argues that limited strikes would do much damage to “war-weary troops” and their ageing equipment.
Policy, Reports and Statements
Syria Statement The International Crisis Group says “quite apart from talk of outrage, deterrence and restoring U.S. credibility, the priority must be the welfare of the Syrian people. Whether or not military strikes are ordered, this only can be achieved through imposition of a sustained ceasefire and widely accepted political transition.”
Military Strikes in Syria Cannot Bring Justice Amnesty International releases this statement.
Did President’s Son Hafez Assad Post Anti-U.S. Facebook Rant? His virtual identity cannot be confirmed, but many children and grandchildren of Syrian officials have commented on a daring status update from the alleged 11-year old.
Some US Troops Appear to be Posting Photos in Protest of Syrian Intervention “The posters are essentially saying that they didn`t join the military "to fight for al Qaeda in a Syrian civil war."