Why All Of The West’s “Chemical Attack” Charges Against Assad Are Baseless
As the U.S. escalates its illegal aggressions against the Syrian government, it’s desperate to find a passable pro-war narrative. This has resulted in a recent series of unsubstantiated claims from the U.S. that Bashar al-Assad plans to commit a chemical attack, which have been helped by a U.N. report from this week which details chemical attacks that have recently happened in Syria.
What the U.N. leaves out in its attribution of these attacks to the Syrian government is the fact that Assad’s involvement in these attacks is highly implausible. The real perpetrators of the attacks are very likely the multiple U.S.-supported terrorist factions in Syria.
This is because whereas these factions have been admitted by the U.S. State Department to possess and regularly use chemical weapons, there is no evidence that Assad has a chemical weapons supply. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons concluded in January of 2016 that chemical weapons were no longer held by the Syrian government as far as the evidence tells us. When we know all of this, why does it make sense to assume that Assad is behind the attacks? Shouldn’t the prime suspects be the people who we’re already sure have chemical weapons at their disposal?
Last year, when this part of the Syria situation threatened to undermine the case for Assad’s involvement in the Khan Sheikhoun chemical incident, the defenders of the official narrative were not able to come up with a compelling argument to solidify their claim. Three days after the charge against Assad was made, The New York Times’ Scott Shane published a piece in defense of the narrative titled Weren’t Syria’s Chemical Weapons Destroyed? It’s Complicated. After summarizing the pre-2016 operation to have Syria get rid of its chemical weapons, the article says:
So did that eliminate the threat? Not entirely, though by all accounts, it removed lethal weapons that could have caused slaughter and suffering on a huge scale. Even as the O.P.C.W. completed its mission, new reports emerged of scattered attacks in Syria using chlorine and other suspected chemicals.
This is a very misleading paragraph. When it talks about those attacks, it doesn’t mention the fact that the jihadist groups have chemical weapons supplies. This leads the reader to think that Assad could have been the only potential culprit. The next two paragraphs use the circular reasoning from within this statement to supposedly prove that Assad still has chemical weapons:
Obama administration officials say that they always believed Mr. Assad might be withholding at least small chemical supplies, and that in public statements, Mr. Kerry and others tried to refer to the elimination of Syria’s “declared” stocks, a nuance often lost in news reports. American officials repeatedly returned to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons with intelligence reports on remaining chemical stocks, pressing for further action.
Despite the failure to completely eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, Obama administration officials and outside experts considered the program fundamentally a success. “We strongly believed it was better to get 1,300 tons of chemical weapons out of the hands of the Syrian regime, or let them fall into the hands of ISIL,” Jonathan Finer, who was Mr. Kerry’s chief of staff and is now a fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard, said, using another name for the Islamic State.
The key part is where it admits that the Obama White House thought that Assad “might” have not given up all of the chemical weapons stash. This doesn’t support the claim in the next paragraph that Assad definitely still has these weapons. These speculative claims are given an appearance of being factual with this next paragraph, which paints an image of how Assad’s theoretical chemical weapons supply could have been attained:
Where did the nerve agent used in the attack this week come from? Two possibilities are receiving attention: that the agent, sarin, was in stocks Mr. Assad hid from inspectors, or that weapons specialists in the Syrian government manufactured a new supply. While it is not simple to make sarin, it is possible in a small lab that could be easily hidden in a basement, out of sight of inspectors and foreign spy satellites.
In short, the evidence doesn’t support the claim that Assad still has chemical weapons. And to believe what our leaders are telling us about Syria, you’d have to believe that Assad has retained a big enough supply of chemical weapons to have carried out numerous gas attacks since the OPCW’s report was released, or that Assad has maintained a massive chemical weapons manufacturing program all in secret. You’d have to believe that all of these attacks have been undoubtedly perpetrated by Assad, even though we know the Syrian rebels have chemical weapons. You’d have to discount the overwhelming evidence that Assad is not the one who’s behind these incidents. And you’d have to believe that Assad, despite his having been winning the war in recent years, would knowingly provoke retaliation from the West by using illegal weapons to kill strategically unimportant civilians.
And this is where all of the chemical attack charges against Assad fall apart. Not only is there no evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons since 2015, but there are in fact no solid reasons to blame Assad for any of the chemical attacks that have happened throughout the war. The proof simply isn’t there. “It’s one of the oldest most despicable dirty tricks in the book, used to launch wars based on Big Lies or escalate them,” Strategic Culture’s Stephen Lendman wrote today. “The same ugly stunt occurred before. Not a shred of credible evidence suggests Syrian forces ever used CWs any time throughout the war — or that it retains any now.”
There’s a reason why these facts are so actively omitted from discussion in the Western media; if people knew about them, all of the war propaganda about Syria would become ineffective.