Yes, I think Assad did it

It was the regime.

I’ve been hearing about an analysis from Yossef Bodansky, reportedly alluded to by Rush Limbaugh today, in which Bodansky suggests that U.S.-backed rebels were actually behind the chemical attack in east Damascus on 21 August. (Warning: you may not be able to bring the link up on the first try.  The avalanche of clicks from Rush’s listeners seems to have the site hammered at the moment.)

I don’t believe the rebels did this (which doesn’t mean I mistake any of them for the Green Mountain Boys or the Bluecoats at Bunker Hill.  It just means I don’t think they conducted this attack).  The character of the attack continues to finger the Assad regime, a theme developed by France’s recently released national intelligence estimate.  If you don’t have the means to read it in French or run translation software on it, Foreign Policy has a pretty good write-up.

Here are the key points from the French assessment Continue reading “Yes, I think Assad did it”

The unbearable passivity of triangulated policies that require “slam dunk” intelligence

Got policy?

It’s a percussion symphony out there.  The drumbeat of stalwart European readiness to strike Syria has become unsteady – boy, that was quick – but now comes the drumbeat of doubt about whether Assad, his actual self, actually ordered the actual chemical attack on 21 August (along with an apparently less urgent doubt that it was the regime in the first place).

FWIW, and up front, I think it was the regime that mounted the attack, and that that’s what matters.  (Whether that means we need to bomb air-defense installations and empty weapons storehouses is another question.)  Achieving the concentration and scope of toxic effects that we have seen, in both gruesome video and eyewitness reporting, is something the Assad regime is well capable of doing.

The rebels, less so.  At least some of the rebels have the capability Continue reading “The unbearable passivity of triangulated policies that require “slam dunk” intelligence”