It appears that even those unwilling to take part in any attack on Syria are still willing to fall in to line and echo the claim / opinion the Assad has unleashed chemical weapons (CW’s).
German Chancellor Merkel, NATO’s Rasmussen, Turkey: PM Erdogan , Israel: PM Nethanyahu, and Saudi Arabia: F.M. Prince Saud al-Faisal all claim that the Assad regime is guilty.
The United States, Britain, and France and others referred to above are unwavering in their contention that the Assad government and the Syrian Arab army (SAA) were the perpetrators of the chemical weapon attack, despite lack of evidence to substantiate such claims.
These governments appear to base their claims of guilt against the Assad regime on the basis of it (Damascus) preventing a UN investigation team from visiting the sites. However, even when investigators did reach the area/s, they (Western governments) argued that the Syrian government had destroyed all evidence of wrongdoing.
Syria’s opponents have constructed a cynical and hysterical political narrative that Western leaders are now happily parroting in unison. But the question is: who would benefit most from chemical weapons use?
The narrative that the Assad government used chemical weapons, specifically while a UN team was in Damascus to investigate previous uses of chemical weapons, is tactically and politically illogical and in no way serves the interests of the Syrian government.
These attacks transparently serve the interests of anti-government militias who have long called for NATO intervention, as well as the Syrian political opposition who are now refusing to take part in any planned Geneva negotiations. Furthermore, allegations that the regime used chemical weapons benefits the international opponents of Assad, who have materially and financially aided and armed non-state actors and foreign fighters on an unprecedented scale.
Above all, the use of chemical weapons benefits the arms industry, as four US warships with ballistic missiles are moving into position in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, ready to shower Damascus with Tomahawk cruise missiles – all under the auspices of protecting civilians. Lockheed Martin’s stock prices have dramatically shot up since news of the chemical weapons attack.
There are numerous revelations that would suggest that anti-government militias have access to these weapons and are in fact guilty of using them. Carla Del Ponte, head of a UN commission of inquiry that looked into the use of chemical weapons in northern Syria in late March suggested that the evidence was stronger to implicate anti-government militants in using chemical weapons, not the Syrian government.
In May, Turkish police found cylinders of sarin nerve gas in the homes of Syrian militants from the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front who were detained in the south near Syria’s northern border. In July, Russian experts submitted reports to the UN detailing how the missiles used in previous chemical weapon attacks were crude and not factory made, and that the chemical components found were not consistent with what the Syrian military has.
The Syrian military has just recently discovered chemical weapons in a rebel tunnel in the Jobar suburb of Damascus, including shells, gasmasks manufactured in the United States, chemical substances of Saudi Arabian origin. Arabic language reports also indicate that a former high-ranking Saudi Arabian member of Al-Nusra Front claimed that the group possessed chemical weapons in a tweet. By Nile Bowie
Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.
However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.
“My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry,” said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a “tube-like structure” while others were like a “huge gas bottle.”
Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regime’s heartland of Latakia on Syria’s western coast, in purported retaliation.
“They didn’t tell us what these arms were or how to use them,” complained a female fighter named ‘K.’ “We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.”
“When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them,” she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.
A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named ‘J’ agreed. “Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material,” he said.
“We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions,” ‘J’ said.
Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.
The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.
More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.
By Dale Gavlak & Yahya Ababneh @ mintpressnews.com
Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and has reported from Amman, Jordan, writing for the Associated Press, NPR and BBC. An expert in
Middle Eastern affairs, Gavlak covers the Levant region, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Contact Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist and is currently working on a master’s degree in journalism, He has covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Libya. His stories have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere.
Peter Oborne, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday August 29th, has issued a word of caution about Washington’s rush to punish the Assad regime with so-called ‘limited’ strikes not meant to overthrow the Syrian leader but diminish his capacity to use chemical weapons:
“Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them.
“It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a U.N. commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible.”
In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandar’s role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad
Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.’s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.
“Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russia’s naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russia’s Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord,” Ingersoll wrote.
“I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us,” Bandar allegedly told the Russians.
“Along with Saudi officials, the U.S. allegedly gave the Saudi intelligence chief the thumbs up to conduct these talks with Russia, which comes as no surprise,” Ingersoll wrote.
“Bandar is American-educated, both military and collegiate, served as a highly influential Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and the CIA totally loves this guy,” he added.
According to U.K.’s Independent newspaper, it was Prince Bandar’s intelligence agency that first brought allegations of the use of sarin gas by the regime to the attention of Western allies in February.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the CIA realized Saudi Arabia was “serious” about toppling Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar to lead the effort.
“They believed that Prince Bandar, a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world, could deliver what the CIA couldn’t: planeloads of money and arms, and, as one U.S. diplomat put it, wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout,” it said.
Bandar has been advancing Saudi Arabia’s top foreign policy goal, WSJ reported, of defeating Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.
To that aim, Bandar worked Washington to back a program to arm and train rebels out of a planned military base in Jordan.
The newspaper reports that he met with the “uneasy Jordanians about such a base”:
“His meetings in Amman with Jordan’s King Abdullah sometimes ran to eight hours in a single sitting. “The king would joke: ‘Oh, Bandar’s coming again? Let’s clear two days for the meeting,’ ” said a person familiar with the meetings.”
Jordan’s financial dependence on Saudi Arabia may have given the Saudis strong leverage. An operations center in Jordan started going online in the summer of 2012, including an airstrip and warehouses for arms. Saudi-procured AK-47s and ammunition arrived, WSJ reported, citing Arab officials.
Although Saudi Arabia has officially maintained that it supported more moderate rebels, the newspaper reported that “funds and arms were being funneled to radicals on the side, simply to counter the influence of rival Islamists backed by Qatar.”
But rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as “al-Habib” or ‘the lover’ by al-Qaida militants fighting in Syria.
Embarrassed recently by his photo with a known member of Al Qaeda affiliate the Al Nursa Front, which was declared by the US a terrorist entity in 2012. Senator McCain nevertheless continues to call for action against the Syrian regime and indeed specifically for the removal of Assad himself.
As the saying goes: necessity makes strange bedfellows, and in US politics there are indeed none stranger than an alliance between the US President and Law Professor Obama and infamous hawk McCain.
After the meeting:
US Senator John McCain stated Monday that Congress rejecting President Obama’s proposal for military force in Syria would be catastrophic.
“If the Congress were to reject a resolution like this after the president of the United States has already committed to action, the consequences would be catastrophic,” McCain told reporters after a meeting with Obama.
McCain’s statement however, may serve to do the exact opposite of its intended goal, as many within congress must surely be at least curious, if not totally flabbergasted by this sudden alliance.
Today Tuesday 3rd of September 2013, Russia’s early warning radar system detected the launch of two ballistic rockets in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. At first Israel scrambled to deny any part or knowledge about what was then the alleged launch. The US also denied that any ballistic rockets were fired as indeed did the UK.
Syria’s missile warning system has not detected any rockets landing on their territory, a Syrian security source told Lebanese channel al-Manar TV
Later Israel claimed a joint missile launch with the US in the Mediterranean Sea. Israeli authorities pointed out that they tested an “anchor” target missile used to check how well the anti-missile system known as “Arrow-2” functions.
The missiles launched from the central part of the Mediterranean Sea fell 300km from the eastern shore, RIA Novosti reported citing a source in the aerospace industry.
Armavir, an early warning system against missile attack, is situated in southern Russia. It is run by the Russian Aerospace Defense Forces. They provide radar coverage of the Middle East. There are two radars there, with one of them facing southwest and the other southeast.
The conclusion has to be that anything, at anytime can happen as this standoff continues and as (sadly) proved by today’s unannounced ballistic missile launch by Israel, which it (Israel) claims was a joint launch with the US (unconfirmed by the US), it won’t take very much to set the whole thing off.
Such a situation is also open to the possibility of false flag operations or indeed a clandestine attack against Western forces by allies seeking to further their own personal agendas. After all it would only take a claim of being attacked by Syria from neighbouring governments (as was the case with Turkey) or indeed a claim by those forces (vessels / Aircraft and airbases) situated near or around Syria that the Assad regime had launched an attack.
TJ @ Total World View