World View—Reports: U.S. Prepares for Syria Intervention over Chemical Weapons

This morning's key headlines from
  • Four Egyptians killed in clash between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters
  • U.S. says that Syria's Assad is preparing to use chemical weapons
  • Thousands of U.S. troops arrive near Syria on USS Eisenhower

Four Egyptians killed in clash between pro- and anti-Morsi protesters

Four Egyptians were killed and hundreds injured in fighting that followed a "massive attack" by Muslim Brotherhood supporters of president Mohamed Morsi on opposition protesters. The attack by Morsi supporters occurred as the perception has been growing that widespread opposition to Morsi is causing him to lose his legitimacy as president. 

Morsi had a great deal of legitimacy two weeks ago, after he successfully engineered a cease-fire between Israel and Gaza. A number of commentators say that Morsi apparently believed at that time that he had enough prestige that there would be little opposition to his constitutional decree giving himself dictatorial powers. That was a bad misjudgment, and opposition demonstrations have been increasing, even more so after the Muslim Brotherhood led Constituent Assembly came out with a draft constitution that embodied Islamic Sharia law.

Morsi made additional mistakes by refusing to reach out to the opposition. Morsi gave a speech last week in the face of growing opposition, but he directed the speech only to his supporters, without reaching out to the opposition. Now he's refusing any compromise in the draft constitution, and he's called for a nationwide referendum on December 15 to ratify the constitution.

Morsi's attitude towards the opposition is almost identical to President Barack Obama's attitude toward his opposition. He made no attempt to compromise with Republicans when he pushed through the Democratic Congress the huge fiscal stimulus and the Obamacare bills.

Although there have been no violent attacks by Obama supporters the way that Morsi supporters attacked the opposition on Wednesday, there have been a number of moves by Obama and his supporters to incite violence against Republicans -- calling Tea Party members "teabaggers," calling pretty much anyone who disagrees with an Obama policy a "racist," condoning of violence and rape by Occupy Wall Street protesters, and the call to violence and war against the Tea Party last year by Teamsters president James Hoffa, when he said: "We are ready to march. Let’s take these sons of bitches out and give America back to an America where we belong."

Hoffa's call to violence was, in fact, heeded two weeks later by hundreds of members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union members (ILWU) labor union, who violently attacked guards protecting a non-union grain terminal in the Port of Longview in Washington state.

Obama has been doubling down on the "racist" charges recently, after it was revealed that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice lied about the situation in Benghazi, and that the deception and cover up spread to senior administration figures, and possibly to Obama himself. Obama can usually count on the mainstream media to support him, no matter what he does, and to join him in calling his opponents "racist." But if Obama keeps doubling down on "racist" as his only defense to an increasing level of accusations, then he's going to incite additional violence.

Morsi's aides have said that he'll give a new presidential address to the nation on Thursday. Egyptians will be watching to see whether he takes a hard line again, infuriating the opposition, or whether he reaches out to the opposition and seeks compromise, infuriating his supporters.

Obama and Morsi are very similar -- both "hope and change" candidates who won on the basis of personality, and who are now refusing to compromise in any way. This cannot end well. Al-Ahram (Cairo) and CNN

U.S. says that Syria's Assad is preparing to use chemical weapons

U.S. officials say that they've confirmed that the regime of Syria's president Bashar al-Assad has mixed the precursor chemicals for sarin, a deadly nerve gas, and loaded the gas into bombs. It's believed that the gas has been loaded in aerosol form into canisters that can be dropped from planes. Iraq's president Saddam Hussein's forces killed 5,000 Kurds with a single sarin gas attack on Halabja in 1988. Once mixed, the sarin gas has to be used within 60 days, or it becomes ineffective. NBC News

Thousands of U.S. troops arrive near Syria on USS Eisenhower

The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower aircraft carrier transited the Suez Canal from the Persian Gulf on Saturday, with 8 fighter bomber squadrons of Air Wing Seven on its decks and 8,000 sailors, airmen and Marines, and is now off the coast of Syria, according to unconfirmed reports. According to an unnamed U.S. official:

The muscle is already there to be flexed. It’s premature to say what could happen if a decision is made to intervene. That hasn’t taken shape, we’ve not reached that kind of decision. There are a lot of options, but it [military action] could be launched rapidly, within days.

Yesterday, Nato approved Turkey's request for Patriot anti-missile systems on the border with Syria. According to Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu:

The protection from NATO will be three dimensional: one is the short-range Patriots, the second is the middle-range Terminal High Altitude Air Defense [THAD] system and the last is the AEGIS system, which counters missiles that can reach outside the atmosphere.

Debka and Russia Today

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