Foreign Policy reports: U.S. intelligence officials and outside experts are looking into claims of a new and massive chemical weapons attack that’s left hundreds dead. From the limited evidence they’ve seen so far, those reports appear to be accurate. And that would make the strike on the East Ghouta region, just east of Damascus, the biggest chemical weapons attack in decades.
The early analysis is based on preliminary reports, photography and video evidence, and conclusions are prone to change if and when direct access to the victims is granted. Over the past nine months, the Syrian opposition has alleged dozens of times that the Assad regime has attacked them with nerve agents. Only a handful of those accusations have been confirmed; several have fallen away under close scrutiny. But Wednesday’s strike, which local opposition groups say killed an estimated 1,300 people, may be different.
“No doubt it’s a chemical release of some variety — and a military release of some variety,” said Gwyn Winfield, the editor of CRBNe World, the trade journal of the unconventional weapons community.
While the Obama administration says it has conclusive proof that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons in the recent past, the White House has been reluctant to take major action in response to those relatively small-scale attacks. (“As long as they keep body count at a certain level, we won’t do anything,” an American intelligence official told Foreign Policy earlier this week.) But this attack appears to be anything but small-scale. If allegations about this latest attack prove to be accurate, the strike could be the moment when the Assad regime finally crossed the international community’s “red line,” and triggered outside invention in the civil war that has killed over a hundred thousand people. [Continue reading…]
Someone posted a comment here earlier today saying: “It looks like a fake would look too! It is a simulation filmed to fool the gullible, or rather to provide ‘evidence’ for the warmongering/Zionists and others who interfere and arm terrorists.” And I dare say there are some others who share a similar sentiment — and perhaps also believe the Holocaust was a “fake.”
But none of these folks should worry themselves. It really doesn’t matter how many people die in Syria — there is zero chance that the U.S. and the West will intervene.
Do you really think that an administration that is unclear about whether a military coup just took place in Egypt is about to become more deeply engaged in Syria?
The U.S. and its allies — even if they would never dare admit as much — are profoundly grateful for repeatedly having had their hands tied by Russia and China at the UN. Today turned out to be no different than any other.
Reuters reports: The U.N. Security Council said it was necessary to clarify an alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus suburbs on Wednesday but stopped short of demanding a probe by U.N. investigators currently in Syria.
“There is a strong concern among council members about the allegations and a general sense that there must be clarity on what happened and the situation must be followed closely,” Argentina’s U.N. ambassador, Maria Cristina Perceval, told reporters after a closed-door emergency meeting of the council.
The United States, Britain and France are among around 35 countries that called for chief U.N. investigator Ake Sellstrom, whose team is currently in Syria, to investigate the incident as soon as possible.
U.N. diplomats, however, said Russia and China opposed language that would have demanded a U.N. probe.