Western intel suggests Syria can still produce chemical arms

Reuters reports: Syria maintains an ability to deploy chemical weapons, diplomats say, citing intelligence from Britain, France and the United States that could strengthen allegations Syria’s military recently used chlorine gas in its bloody civil war.

The comments reflect a growing conviction among Western capitals that President Bashar al-Assad has failed to come clean about Syria’s chemical weapons program despite his promises to end it, and they insist the United States and its allies will resist calls by Assad to shut down a special international chemical disarmament mission set up to deal with Syria.

Syria denies it maintains the capacity to deploy chemical weapons, calling the allegation a U.S. and European attempt to use their “childish” policies to blackmail Assad’s government.

But in a tacit acknowledgement of the original declaration’s incompleteness, Syria earlier this month submitted a more specific list of its chemical weapons to the international disarmament mission after discrepancies were reported by inspectors on the ground, officials said. [Continue reading…]

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3 thoughts on “Western intel suggests Syria can still produce chemical arms

  1. Matt R

    Hello Paul & Co.,

    An interesting article, though not at all clear why we should take the allegations of anonymous “Western” intelligence sources any more seriously than Syrian or Russian claims, or for that matter claims by Mormons or Scientologists. Given their proven record of mendacity on issues of “WMDs” held by official enemies, I think it’s more important to ask what’s *motivating* such claims as propaganda than to take them seriously on their own terms. Is another “bomb Syria” campaign in the offing? Is Anne-Marie Slaughter’s Strangelovian advice that “It is time to change Putin’s calculations, and Syria is the place to do it”
    (http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/anne-marie-slaughter-on-how-us-intervention-in-the-syrian-civil-war-would-alter-vladimir-putin-s-calculus-in-ukraine#ssvvKfaq3F1qiA2K.99) about to become policy? This is surely as worrisome as whether Assad can still cobble together chlorine bombs.

    I’d also like to point your attention to this very important new summary of the state of our knowledge about the Ghouta sarin attacks, just put out by Gareth Porter at truthout:


    which adds details to this piece:


    The “if you doubt Assad did Ghouta, than you’re a Baathist apologist” crowd should seriously start reconsidering not just their facts, but their argumentative habits. In one sense, the whole debate around Ghouta is a travesty from the get-go: Assad doesn’t need chemical credentials to be shown to be a brutal thug on a massive scale. But at the same time, it’s very, very depressing how easily so many on the Left were taken in by the naked lies of our own governments in search of a casus belli. Eight months later, the court is still out on Ghouta, but your wouldn’t know that by asking Louis Proyect or the folks at Pulse media or some people over here on this page, I’m afraid.

  2. Paul Woodward

    “An interesting article, though not at all clear why we should take the allegations of anonymous “Western” intelligence sources any more seriously than Syrian or Russian claims, or for that matter claims by Mormons or Scientologists.” Indeed. The only anonymous intelligence sources we should take with the utmost seriousness would be former intelligence officials talking to Seymour Hersh.

    “Is another ‘bomb Syria’ campaign in the offing?”

    Whatever else might be disputed, the one thing about which no one can debate is this: those elements in the West who have argued in favor of direct military intervention in Syria have thus far been unsuccessful in winning that argument.

    So what are we to conclude? That our own governments who are supposedly actually in search of a casus belli simply have not been able to come up with one? That these governments that supposedly have launched one or even several false flag operations specifically to create a pretext for war, always got cold feet at the last moment?

    These warmongers, hell bent at rushing the U.S. into another war seem amazingly cautious about getting involved in the very thing that we are supposed to believe they are pursuing.

    It’s either that, or the observable reality: that this push for war has always vacillated between tepid and non-existent.

  3. Matt R

    Paul, vacillated they certainly have–thankfully, I hope you’ll agree. But tepid and non-existent? I find that a rather odd description, say, of this:


    As for Obama’s vacillating, given the hysteria now gripping D.C. about the new Soviet Threat, it’s a whole new ball game. (Obama’s preferred modus operandi is small-scale and high-tech, anyway, so there’s also a big question about the definition of “direct military intervention”, which I’d say has been ongoing in Syria for some time already.)

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