The other aspect of the suspicious reports is the “convenient” fact they coincide with the arrival two days earlier of an official UN weapons inspection team, allowed by the government, to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian war. It begs the most obvious question: What conceivably would Bashar al Assad stand to gain from using banned chemical weapons just at the time he has agreed to let a UN chemical weapons team into Syria?
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by the Local Committee of Arbeen on August 21, 2013 allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. (AFP Photo)
They initially were called to investigate evidence of any chemical weapons used in a March 19 attack in Khan al-Assad and in two other locations. In May, Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff in Syria indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used by rebel fighters. They found no evidence of use by Government forces. That proved highly embarrassing to the faction of war hawks in the Pentagon and State Department, agitating for Obama to escalate direct military intervention including a no-fly zone, de facto an act of war against Assad’s regime. In 2012 Obama declared that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian President would cross a “red line” and change US calculations on whether or not it should intervene in the conflict.
Finally, the region reported to be the site of the poison gas attack by Assad forces, Eastern Ghouta, was re-secured from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra jihadist terrorists, by Government troops in May as part of a major series of rollback victories against the insurgent forces and is not currently a scene of any major resistance to Assad forces.
Pending confirmation by genuinely independent judges of the latest allegations of Al Arabiya, we are well-advised to leave the reports in the category of war propaganda, in league with others such as the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. That incident, we might recall, was faked by the Pentagon to railroad Congress into giving President Lyndon B. Johnson authority to “assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by communist aggression.” The resolution became Johnson’s legal justification for deploying US forces and the onset of open war against North Vietnam.