Intercepted phone calls raise questions about who authorized Damascus chemical attack

Foreign Policy reports: Last Monday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.

But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on August 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? “It’s unclear where control lies,” one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. “Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?”

Nor are U.S. analysts sure of the Syrian military’s rationale for launching the strike — if it had a rationale at all. Perhaps it was a lone general putting a long-standing battle plan in motion; perhaps it was a miscalculation by the Assad government. Whatever the reason, the attack has triggered worldwide outrage, and put the Obama administration on the brink of launching a strike of its own in Syria. “We don’t know exactly why it happened,” the intelligence official added. “We just know it was pretty fucking stupid.” [Continue reading…]

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2 thoughts on “Intercepted phone calls raise questions about who authorized Damascus chemical attack

  1. dickerson3870

    RE: “Intercepted phone calls raise questions about who authorized Damascus chemical attack”


    Pepe Escobar · 460 followers
    21 hours ago near Hong Kong, Hong Kong ·


    Khalil Harb, of Lebanese paper As-Safir, confirmed a few minutes ago to my great friend Claudio Gallo an article published in Arabic two days ago, quoting a Russian source.
    According to the source, Russia’s ambassador in the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, presented conclusive evidence – based on documents and Russian satellite images – of two rockets carrying toxic chemicals, fired from Douma, controlled by the Syrian “rebels”, and landing on East Ghouta. Hundreds of “rebels”, as well as civilians – including those children on the cover of Western corporate media papers – were killed. The evidence, says the Russian source, is conclusive. This is what Lavrov himself was hinting at yesterday. And that’s the reason there’s no UN Security Council resolution against Syria, and why Washington does not want the inspectors to find anything.

    SOURCE –

  2. Paul Woodward

    Let’s see if I’m clear about all the rational principles at play here:

    1. Any statement coming out of Washington is a lie and any statement coming out of Moscow is the incontrovertible truth.
    2. When Assad blocks UN inspectors from visiting the site of the chemical attack that’s his prerogative, but having delayed the investigation, when the US says its findings would no longer be of any value, it is the US that is in fact preventing the investigation.

    Then again, how do we know a chemical attack even occurred? Perhaps Bashar al-Assad is a secret CIA asset? Al Qaeda might not have had anything to do with 9/11. Barack Obama might not be a US citizen. There are so many lies and deceptions…

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