We have this sense of the surreal: an old black and white film running backwards, but with its cast of characters substituted.
George Bush has morphed into Barack Obama and Tony Blair looks and sounds a heck of a lot like David Cameron. It is a decade later. The set, too, has changed. Iraq is Syria. Saddam Hussein is Bashar al-Assad.
The plot, however, remains consistent. The new Bush and Blair, Obama and Cameron, are preparing to bomb the stuffing out of Syria, on the basis of evidence that seems decidedly flimsy, if not contrived.
Unfortunately, the scenario is all too real, with little likelihood of being reversed. The potential consequence of what is being contemplated by the United States and Britain is unfathomable. It could, for generations, undermine any prospects for stability in the Middle East.
The backdrop of this bit of foreign-policy folly by the West is Syria's civil war in which Assad's Ba'athist regime has recently gained the upper hand against myriad opposition groups. Syria's fighting is part of the short-lived and shrivelling Arab Spring, which President Obama hoped would blossom into a wave of democracy when he threw America's long-time ally, Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, under the bus.
In Egypt, the hard-core undesirables didn't have a chance to emerge. America and the West could, even when they were not the preferred options, work with all parties. They talked democracy.
The evolution of the conflict in neighbouring Syria is far more complex. Assad and his regime may be nasty bits of work.
But many in the opposition, to which US support is committed, are equally nasty - and worse. They include al-Qaida types and Islamist nasties. America has found difficulty in balancing its backing for those ranged against Assad and how to actualise that support. For Assad's departure could very well lead to the ascendancy, from the ranks of the opposition, of people who are diametrically opposed to the US and Western interests.
On Syria, however, President Obama painted himself into a corner with his declaration about the use of chemical weapons by the regime being a 'red line' not to be crossed. He has clearly felt pressured to do something during previous claims of breaches by the regime.
Last week, more than 300 people were killed by chemical weapons in Damascus. Assad has been blamed, but, so far, with an absence of compelling evidence. Policy hawks in Washington, London and Paris are urging Western action.
OBAMA'S 'RED LINE'
Syria's regime, though, would have been extremely stupid or unaccountably brave to have used chemical weapons given Obama's 'red line' and just when the war, with the use of conventional weapons, has turned in its favour.
The greatest potential beneficiary of this would be the opposition. Western intervention, like in Libya against Gaddafi, could shift the war in their favour. It is hardly beyond the capacity of the opposition to get such weapons, even crude ones.
It is ironic, too, that the attack happened as United Nations monitors were heading to Syria. These obvious questions appear to have escaped many in the West.
A decade ago, sexed-up intelligence dossiers, alleging that Saddam was in possession of weapons of mass destruction, were part of the launching pad for the invasion of Iraq - opposition to which Mr Obama rode to the American presidency.
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