Russia,  Syria,  The Right

The Limbaugh-Putin-Assad nexus, and other strangeness on the Right

Hatred of Barack Obama has driven some leading figures of the American Right into truly weird territory, even for them.

Talk radio blowhard Rush Limbaugh– still influential among conservatives– said he didn’t know whom to believe on the use of chemical weapons in Syria: Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry or Vladimir Putin. In the end he didn’t leave much doubt whom he believes.

Russia says they have compiled a 100-page report blaming the Syrian rebels for the chemical weapons attack, not Assad… A 100-page report.

What stands out here is how impressed Limbaugh is by the number of pages in the report.

He continued:

Now, I don’t know about you, but what does it feel like to have to agree with a former KGB agent?

Elsewhere, Limbaugh ventured into utter nutjob territory.

“There is evidence — mounting evidence — that the rebels in Syria did indeed frame Assad for the chemical attack,” …Limbaugh told his audience on Sept. 3. “But not only that, but Obama, the regime, may have been complicit in it. Mounting evidence that the White House knew and possibly helped plan the Syrian chemical weapon attack by the opposition!”

Limbaugh’s cited an article by Yossef Bodansky on Global Research, a conspiracy website that has advanced a pro-Assad message during the current crisis. “How can the Obama administration continue to support and seek to empower the opposition which had just intentionally killed some 1,300 innocent civilians?” Bodansky asked.

Back in April Limbaugh said it “freaks me out” that he agreed with Putin’s ban on the adoption of Russian orphans by same sex couples in other countries. In August he defended Putin’s anti-gay policies as necessary to help increase Russia’s population.

Geez, I’m old enough to remember when it was fools on the Left who praised a repressive, undemocratic regime in Moscow.

Putin’s and Assad’s propaganda machines have done an excellent job of appealing to the Right by portraying the Syrian regime and its backers as defenders of Christendom.

Military analyst and Fox News favorite Ralph Peters said of Putin: “He’s a thug, but he’s defending the Christians and the other minorities in Syria.”

There’s no doubt that some Islamist rebels have treated Syrian Christians brutally. But as I’ve noted before, Syrian Christians who have dared to oppose Assad, even peacefully, have not found his regime so congenial.

At any rate Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch would be well advised to stop using the pro-Assad website al-Hadath as a reliable source about about Syrian Christians or anything else.

It doesn’t take much time reading al-Hadath to realize that this is a site staunchly loyal to the Syrian regime and its allies — and therefore inclined to dramatize stories of rebel crimes. The website contains an editorial by the editor-in-chief lauding Hezbollah, and another article reports that a kidnapped European writer said that the rebels launched the Aug. 21 chemical attack (the writer has denied making such claims).

Other stories in such publications, of course, would never see the light of day in the U.S. media. Al-Hadath, for example, features a section dedicated to news about Israel titled "Know Your Enemy" — a strange match for the American right-wing, to say the least.

Update: Sorry, Rush, Vlad, Bash, et al.

The Washington Post reports:

The CIA has begun delivering weapons to rebels in Syria, ending months of delay in lethal aid that had been promised by the Obama administration, according to U.S. officials and Syrian figures. The shipments began streaming into the country over the past two weeks, along with separate deliveries by the State Department of vehicles and other gear — a flow of material that marks a major escalation of the U.S. role in Syria’s civil war.

And Foreign Policy reports:

U.N. inspectors have collected a “wealth” of evidence on the use of nerve agents that points to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against his own people, according to a senior Western official.

The inspection team, which is expected on Monday to present U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon with a highly anticipated report on a suspected Aug. 21 nerve agent attack in the suburbs of Damascus, will not directly accuse the Syrian regime of gassing its own people, according to three U.N.-based diplomats familiar with the investigation. But it will provide a strong circumstantial case — based on an examination of spent rocket casings, ammunition, and laboratory tests of soil, blood, and urine samples — that points strongly in the direction of Syrian government culpability.