Obscuring the Details: A Panoramic Look at America’s Case Against Syria
by Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
October 13, 2013
The US federal government and the various agencies, media organizations, individuals, foreign governments, non-governmental organizations, lobbies, forces, and other entities that are tied to it have done everything in their power to obscure the details involving the chemical attacks that took place in Syria on August 21, 2013. The aim has been to justify the US-led foreign campaign that was launched against Syria in 2011 by making the Syrian government appear culpable of grievous crimes. The chemical attack on Ghouta has now come to represent the crux of the matter.
From the very start there was double-speaking coming from Washington and its cohorts about what happened in Ghouta. The Obama Administration and America’s allies deliberately ignored that chemical weapons were used in Syria prior to August 21, 2013. They have pretended that the United Nations investigation team that had arrived in Syria when chemical weapons were used in Ghouta had just stumbled there coincidentaly or with the purpose of «inspecting» the Syrian government’s chemical weapon depots.
Ignoring the Original Mandate of the UN Investigators
In reality, the UN team that arrived in Syria in August was not a team of weapons inspectors. It was a team of «investigators.» Even more importantly, the Syrian government had invited the UN investigation team to Syria in March 2013. This was because the insurgents had launched chemical attacks on March 19, 2013. The US and its allies tried to blame Syria, but they were embarrassingly contradicted by Carla Del Ponte, one of the UN investigators responsible for Syria, that said all the evidence pointed to the insurgents and not the Syrian government. Although she backed her conclusion with facts, Del Ponte was dismissed by the US, and NATO even abnormally took the time to make a statement against here. Moreover, the insurgents were even caught trying to sneak sarin gas into Syria from Turkey by Turkish security forces in May 2013.
Because the insurgents were behind the chemical attacks in March 2013, Syria’s government originally wanted the UN investigators to have the authority and mandate to officially assign blame on which party used the chemical weapons. The US, however, put all types of obstacles in place to prevent the UN from issuing a report that the US-supported insurgents were using chemical weapons. It was the US, Britain, and France that prevented an UN investigation that could assign responsibility for any chemical weapon attacks from taking place. Instead they wanted a politicized inspection team that would try to demonize Syria and write reports against Damascus. This led to a deadlock in the United Nations over the type of team that the UN would send to work in Syria. A settlement was eventually reached. The US and its allies eventually reduced the mandate of the UN inspectors to one of only determining if chemical weapons were used.
The United Nation’s team even spells out the fact that they had originally entered Syria to investigate the March 2013 chemical attacks all in their September 2013 report’s Letter of Transmittal signed by Ake Sellstrom, the head of the UN mission, Scott Cairns, the head of the OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) component of the UN mission, and Maurizio Barbeschi, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) component of the UN mission. The UN team states the following on the report’s third page: «Having arrived in the Syrian Arab Republic on 18 August 2013, we were in Damascus on the 21 August preparing to conduct on-site inspections in connection with our investigation into the allegations concerning the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Asal and in Sheik Maqsood and Saraqueb. Based on several reports of allegations on the use of chemical weapons in the Ghouta area of Damascus on 21 August 2013, you instructed us to focus our investigation efforts on the Ghouta allegations. We, therefore, proceeded to conduct on-site inspections in Moadamiyah in West Ghouta and Ein Tarma and Zamalka in East Ghouta».
Cooked US Intelligence and Implausible White House Stories
The narrative that the US government and its allies present about Ghouta is contradictory to logic and highly implausible. Added to the fact that the US has a track record of lying to create pretexts for aggression, Washington’s claims should be heavily scrutinized. So should the same group of non-governmental organizations that have consistently backed American wars and conjured instant reports to justify US foreign policy and war.
President Obama and John Kerry claimed that the Syrian military used chemical weapons while it was advancing militarily in Ghouta. This is contrary to any procedure that would be followed by an organized military force. An advancing military would not gas an area when it was entering it with its forces. Obama and Kerry might as well have claimed that the Syrian military had decided to reduce the number of its own troops by killing them.
Furthermore, there was no tactical need to use chemical weapons in Ghouta whatsoever. Ghouta did not have a large amount of anti-government fighters. Nor was Ghouta under the full control of the insurgents. Despite being in worse situations, the Syrian military never bothered using chemical weapons earlier in the conflict when things were dire for the Syrian government.
On the contrary, using chemical weapons would be a self-defeating and suicidal move by the Syrian government. Why would the Syrian government use chemical weapons when the combined UN team of OPCW and WHO investigators arrived in Syria to investigate the use of chemical attacks? Moreover, why would the Syrian military decide to use chemical weapons unnecessarily?
No evidence has been provided that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack on Ghouta. On the contrary the US has only made claims and a series of contradictory statements. Using cooked Israeli evidence, Washington has claimed that the orders to use chemical weapons were intercepted, but has failed to provide the transcripts or to give any names of Syrian officials. In its own intelligence report the US government has also said that it knew in advance that the chemical attacks were going to happen. If the US government is to be believed, this would mean that the Obama Administration did not mention it and did nothing to prevent the use of chemical weapons from happening.
It turns out that the US government was given some type of advanced warning by the Iranian government about a chemical attack in Syria. The warning, however, was that the insurgents planned on using chemical weapons. This has been matched by statements from insurgents themselves that Saudi Arabia had provided the chemical weapons to the insurgents. Russian officials have also assessed that the chemical attacks in Ghouta were part of an intelligence operation conducted by Saudi Arabia.