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September 13, 2013 / Congau

Assad Didn’t Do It

Assad cannot have used chemical weapons. It’s impossible because it is illogical. No one acts totally against his own interests, and no one who is desperately fighting for his survival commits suicide. Not even a bloodthirsty butcher would do that, and especially not one who is considered as shrewed and calcultaing as the Syrian president. He knew that a chemical attack with great probability would lead to an American intervention, and that must be the last thing he would risk.

When there is doubt about who has committed an act, the most obvious question too ask is of course who benefits from that act. In this case the answer is simple. Only the rebels could benefit from a chemical attack because only they wanted a Western intervention. This logic is so trivial that it feels like repeating something bleeding obvious, but it’s astounding how rarely we hear it expressed in the Western press and hardly any major Western politician has said it. They have just decided that Assad is the guilty one. Why is that?

All the actors in this ongoing game have long since found their allies. The West is anti-Assad and so is the Sunni part of the Muslim countries. They interprete any event as a confirmation of their previously held views. That phenomenon is of course well-known, but in this conflict it seems somewhat strange since many of the actors disagree with themselves about what is to be done. They are not sure they want to intervene, but they are sure that Assad is the criminal. Their perception of reality has been decided once and for all, but it’s not yet clear to them how to react to this reality.

The strategic map looked simpler when the war in Syria started two years ago. At that time it may have been easier to form a picture of what an American intervention would mean. The development since then have made people more hesitant, but that basic wish to intervene is still there. Whatever happens may only modify their practical strategy. It doesn’t affect their fundamental attitude.

Assad is bad, therefore he uses chemical weapons.  Don’t try to contradict this argument by means of logic.

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