SHAFAQNA – The recent chemical weapons attack in Syria was a false flag operation which the American Empire is exploiting to advance its imperialist agenda, according to Professor Dennis Etler, an American political analyst who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.
Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday while commenting on last week’s US missile strike on a Syrian airbase.
The US military fired 59 Tomahawk missiles at the al-Shayrat airbase in Homs province in western Syria on April 7. Trump said he had ordered the strike in response to the April 4 chemical attack in the Arab country that he blamed on the Syrian government.
The US military claimed the airfield targeted was used to store chemical weapons and Syrian aircraft. This is while Damascus volunteered to destroy its chemical stockpile in 2014 following a poisonous attack outside the capital.
‘Trump is doing what all imperialists do’
“The recent bombing of Syria by the Trump regime confirms the notion, to paraphrase Gertrude Stein, that ‘an imperialist is an imperialist is an imperialist.’ Or to paraphrase Shakespeare, ‘An imperialist by any other name would smell as acrid.’ Trump is doing what all imperialists do, invade sovereign nations,” Professor Etler said.
“The recent, and previous gas attacks in Syria, like the Gulf of Tonkin incident, the Kuwaiti incubator baby hoax, the bogus ‘humanitarian crises’ in Kosovo and Libya, 9/11, and the Iraqi WMDs are convenient excuses to launch preemptive attacks and can’t be taken seriously,” he added.
“If Trump is so concerned with the graphic pictures of children purportedly gassed in Syria why doesn’t he respond to pictures of starving children in Yemen and stop supporting the genocidal Saudis?” the scholar asked.
“The question then arises, how many times can the US lie in order to bamboozle people to justify its wars and still get away with it? It appears that Abe Lincoln’s famous quote, ‘You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time,’ continues to hold true. Hopefully more and more people cannot be fooled any longer,” he stated.
‘Gas attack meant to give cover for US military escalation’
“Contrast the US account of the gas attack in Syria to the US bombing of Mosul in Iraq. According to the US, terrorists have been using human shields in Mosul, huddling women and children in vacant buildings that appear to be genuine targets, thus placing them in harm’s way so they will be blown to bits by US airstrikes. The terrorists can then decry the slaughter for their own purposes,” Professor Etler said.
“The same holds true in Syria’s Idlib Province, either Syrian air strikes unknowingly bombed chemical weapon stockpiles where civilians were housed or the gas was deliberately released by the terrorists to create an incident that could be used against President Assad. Either way the purpose was to give cover for the US military escalation,” the analyst said.
“Now that the US has boots on the ground and is launching air strikes against Syrian forces Trump has done what critics of Hillary Clinton said she would do if elected. Which only goes to show that there is no substantive difference between one or another imperialist who occupies the White House,” he explained.
‘Trump delivered veiled threat to China’
“It also seems very opportune that Trump stole the scene during the hyped US-China summit by attacking Syria during President Xi Jinping’s visit, sending China a not too veiled message about US unilateralism and his willingness to use military force whenever deemed necessary,” Professor Etler said.
“There are also other benefits that Trump’s handlers may anticipate from the false flag gas attack and the US retaliation against Syria. It delegitimizes the Assad government, allowing the US to more directly intervene in Syria to counter Russia. Now the US has boots on the ground and feels free to bomb the Syrian Arab Army whenever it so chooses. It can thus assert its position in Syria more forcefully,” he said.
The analyst said that the gas attack pinned on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Russian President Russian President Vladimir Putin “also deflects attention away from the mass casualties inflicted on the civilian population of Mosul by US bombing. Forget about the 200 women and children killed in Mosul, look at the pictures of gas victims from Syria.”
“It distracts people’s attention away from the terrorist attack in Leningrad (aka St Petersburg) so that no sympathy need to shown and as stated above it serves as an object lesson for Xi Jinping during his summit with Trump,” he noted.
“The attack was meant to tell Xi that this is what will be done when the US sees fit in North Korea or the South China Sea. It told Xi that the US plays by its own rules and does not adhere to international or domestic law. That’s a long list of benefits that the Trump administration thinks it has achieved by this whole episode,” he observed.
‘Make American imperialism great again’
“As recent events indicate Trump’s campaign slogan, ‘make America great again,’ actually means, ‘make American imperialism great again.’ Trump only differs from Obama tactically, not strategically. Rather than ‘leading from behind’ he would rather engage in brinkmanship. This bodes ill for peace and stability in the world and necessitates that all anti-imperialist forces forge still greater unity to combat US imperialist hegemony,” Professor Etler concluded.