The Logic of the Chemical Attack in Syria

(Washington Institute for Near East Policy) Hassan Mneimneh - Even though the battle for the suburbs of Damascus was nearing its end, the Assad regime did indeed undertake the chemical attack, not for any military purpose, but in an effort to restore the only formula within which the regime can survive: "We will kill you, we will maim you, we will inflict horrible suffering on your children, and you have no recourse; submit and suffer less; resist and be viciously exterminated." The Damascus regime's one consistent message to its population since the onset of the uprising in 2011 is: the world does not care about you; and even if it did, it lacks the resources to act; promises of support from the U.S. are meaningless; Europe is impotent; backing from the regimes in the Gulf and the aspiring neo-Ottoman Sultanate in Turkey is ephemeral and futile. You will be defeated, you will be punished, and, if we spare your miserable life, you will proclaim your absolute allegiance to the President from under the boots of our soldiers. For example, thirsty residents of Ghouta, in the suburbs of Damascus, having suffered a devastating siege and bombardment, were ushered on Syrian television to chant their readiness to sacrifice soul and blood for the leader, as a prerequisite to receiving a few precious bottles of water. The writer is a contributing editor with the Washington Institute's Fikra Forum and a principal at Middle East Alternatives in Washington.

2018-04-20 00:00:00

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