Only Assad can prove the ‘toxic gas’ claims are false

Fawaz Gerges writes: Although we do not have independent information as to whether Bashar al-Assad’s regime fired chemical weapons on the eastern suburbs of Damascus and killed hundreds of civilians, as the opposition claims, the burden of proof, morally and legally, lies squarely on the shoulders of the Syrian president.

If the regime’s counter-claims of denial are to be believed, Assad must convince the Syrian people and the world. He can do this by allowing the United Nations inspectors access to the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Ghouta, where this apparent massacre occurred. A 20-strong UN team is already in Damascus, investigating three other incidents of alleged chemical weapons attacks said to have taken place six months ago.

The UN, together with scores of nations, has called on Assad to grant permission to its inspectors and allow them to conduct a “thorough, impartial and prompt investigation”. Assad’s prompt agreement would not only show his sincerity about addressing the serious and urgent concerns of the international community, but could also forestall western military strikes. His refusal could prompt such a strike.

If proven, and given the scale of the atrocity, the “red line” established by US president Barack Obama about the use of chemical weapons has surely been crossed. Pressure is mounting on Obama at home. Some US lawmakers immediately renewed calls for the administration to intervene more decisively in the Syrian conflict.

France has already threatened to retaliate militarily against Syria after a UN security council statement failed to agree to call for UN inspectors to investigate. French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said: “If it is proven, France’s position is that there must be a reaction, a reaction that could take the form of a reaction with force.”

It is therefore in Assad’s interests – and it is his responsibility – to co-operate with the UN inspectors. [Continue reading…]

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9 thoughts on “Only Assad can prove the ‘toxic gas’ claims are false

  1. dickerson3870

    RE: “Only Assad can prove the ‘toxic gas’ claims are false”

    VIDEO (06:14) – Latest Syrian chemical attack follows history of false flag provocations, by The Corbett Report, YouTube, 8/22/13
    James Corbett and Jack Blood dissect the latest reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria, occuring just two days after a UN chemical weapons team arrived in the country. James goes over the history of false flag chemical provocations in the country and the reasons why we should doubt the quickly-forming official narrative that this attack was perpetrated by Assad’s military.

  2. hquain

    We are also expected to believe that the intelligence services of the US and Israel do not already know the answer to this head-scratcher.

  3. Paul Woodward

    Here’s the thing that I don’t get about the kind of “analysis” conspiracy theorists engage in: One minute anything appearing on YouTube is rebel propaganda and deserves to be dismissed, but then an occasional video shows up with zero evidence about its provenance and yet this is treated as incontrovertible evidence. In this case, the “proof” of rebels developing chemical weapons is a video attributed to a group named by a poster appearing in the video as Kateebat a-Reeh al-Sarsar. What else do we know about this “brigade”? Nothing. The only information about it refers to this video. Circumstantially, that amounts to pretty strong evidence that the video was produced by someone else, identity unknown. I wonder who could possibly have an interest in promoting the idea that rebels were engaged in chemical weapons development?

  4. Pangloss

    Who knows what to believe? I sure don’t but I do know I don’t believe anything trumpeted by our Western governments. They get the weather reports right, if they have an environmental department but only then if they look out a window. Our Western media is mainly a joke and anything they publishes requires hours of parsing in order to filter out the fake objectivity from the imbedded ideology looking for any hint of real information.
    So what to believe?
    I fall back on my jaded rationality and thus, to me, Assad has most to lose by doing such a stupid thing as to use chemical weapons given some in the West eagerness to find any excuse to again ride the “humanitarian charger” yet again to save god knows what. So for now I’ve concluded that this is maybe again a false flag event. And saying only Assad can prove he didn’t is, and god I do love that old chestnuts never die, a variation of “so when did you stop beating your wife & kids”.

  5. Paul Woodward

    “[T]he West eagerness to find any excuse to again ride the ‘humanitarian charger’ yet again to save god knows what.”

    Any excuse? There’s been atrocity after atrocity, cities flattened to rubble, more than 100,000 deaths, and millions of refugees. There has in fact been a veritable fountain gushing with an endless supply of excuses for the West to leap on to that humanitarian charger — but it hasn’t happened.

  6. neretva

    “If the regime’s counter-claims of denial are to be believed, Assad must convince the Syrian people and the world.”

    Only what Assadmust to do is to continue to kill Nato mercenaries!

  7. Pangloss

    Hard to know how to response to you. Prior to the “revolution” Syria seemed to be a fairly peaceful place. Not a Western place but a place where lots of Westerners vacationed and did business and likely a fairly multicultural place. So what is it now? And what would it be after the Western humanitarian intervention? I really don’t want an answer to my last question and I suspect you might image why. I do not want to see or hear that masses of people have been killed by governments, any government. I also do not know how to stop these government atrocities. I do not think any Western government has any moral standing to say anything about the killing of citizens given its own view on killing its own citizens. I’m appalled by the whole mess and the West’s economic and ideological entanglement and the simpering nonsense feed to the public by the elite media outlets. I just want to stick my head in the ground and not think or know anything about the snafu that is our Western vision, just now, of international affairs.

  8. Paul Woodward

    In the peaceful place you describe, a group of children had the audacity to write anti-government graffiti in March 2011 and they were punished by being tortured. There had up to that point been no protests. There were no rebels. This was a revolution started by children who got brutalized because they were willing to challenge authority. No doubt there are lots of peace-loving Westerners who would prefer these children to have kept quiet. In that event tourists could now still be enjoying Aleppo.

    Robin Yassin Kassab visited Kafranbel recently – the town which become famous for its witty English-language slogans appearing on Facebook. He asked his driver, Ra’ed Fares:

    “If you’d known what would happen, would you have still joined the revolution?”

    “No,” he said, matter-of-fact. “The price was too high. Just in Kafranbel we’ve had 150 martyrs. As many as that are missing; they’re probably dead too.

    “But it’s too late now. There’s no going back. We have to finish what we started.”

    In the patronizing contempt that so many Westerners dress up as compassion, everything going on inside Syria has resulted from the influence of outside powers.

    Many Syrians may now regret what they began, but they don’t need the additional insult of being viewed as though they never had any reason to rise up.

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