As Western powers and the Obama administration in particular beat the war drums on Syria claiming the Assad regime used chemical weapons, experts, governments, and analysts continue to raise serious doubts about who was behind the attack. More than a few sources have even suggested the massacre outside Damascus may have been perpetrated by establishment-backed Islamist “rebels” to spark overt foreign military intervention in the years-long battle against Syrian authorities. For now, despite official U.S. allegations about “undeniable” evidence, the truth about the chemical attack remains shrouded in uncertainty.
The first and most obvious red flag surrounding claims that the secular Syrian despot deployed weapons of mass destruction is the issue of motive. Analysts and governments suggesting the attack was a so-called “false flag” point out that Assad had no reason to use chemical weapons and plenty of reasons not to. His regime has been largely successful in beating back foreign-funded Islamist rebel forces; he knew such an attack would be seized on as a pretext by foreign powers to intervene more overtly in the conflict; United Nations inspectors had just arrived in the country; and more. The first question in investigations is generally “cui bono?” or "who benefits?" In this case, certainly not Assad.
While the Obama administration continues to blame Assad and the establishment press dutifully parrots the unsubstantiated claims, the Syrian regime has been vociferously denying responsibility. “How is it possible that any country would use chemical weapons, or any weapons of mass destruction, in an area where its own forces are located?” Assad asked in a widely cited interview. “This is preposterous! These accusations are completely politicized and come on the back of the advances made by the Syrian Army against the terrorists.”
On August 27, meanwhile, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moualem blasted the Obama administration for “propagating lies” and said that a U.S. attack on Syria would serve al-Qaeda, which has been leading vast segments of the “rebel” movement. "If they have any evidence of our use [of chemical weapons], I challenge them to show this evidence to [global] public opinion," Moualem told reporters in Damascus as UN investigators continue their work. "It's the right of public opinion to know the truth of these allegations." Syria’s ambassador to the United Nations blamed the Western-backed opposition, saying the attack was aimed at bringing about foreign intervention against Assad.
Meanwhile, evidence suggesting that the foreign-funded-and-trained rebels may have perpetrated the attack continues to mount. Writing in WND, author and respected analyst Jerome Corsi compiled a series of videos from Middle Eastern sources that show opposition fighters involved in chemical weapons attacks. One of the videos, for example, shows “Free Syrian Army” forces launching a Sarin gas attack on a village. Another appears to record “rebels” loading a canister of nerve gas on a rocket. A third, recorded from Syrian television, shows a rebel arsenal of what appears to be Saudi-made chemical weapons seized by government forces. More evidence cited in the report came from a recorded phone conversation between a rebel terrorist and a Saudi financier, who discussed past and future use of chemical weapons by opposition forces.
Examining recent history and events may also yield some clues as to who could have been responsible for the attack, according to analysts. Consider, for example, the numerous atrocities — mass murder of civilians, for example — perpetrated by rebels but blamed on the Assad regime. As The New American has documented extensively, there have been more than a few confirmed instances of opposition forces staging brutal attacks and blaming the carnage on the Syrian dictatorship before the truth eventually emerged. After the last chemical weapons attack blamed on Assad, UN investigators concluded that it was likely the work of rebel forces. Videos have also emerged apparently showing “rebels” testing chemical weapons on animals.
Among the most explosive allegations this year were documents supposedly obtained by hackers claiming that the Obama administration had previously approved a chemical weapons false-flag attack in Syria to be blamed on the regime. According to the ANI news wire, an alleged e-mail exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence documented a scheme to have Sunni Arab regimes “fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons.” The plan for a false-flag attack to be blamed on Assad was allegedly “approved by Washington.” The company denied the allegations and successfully sued a leading British paper that published them, but some analysts were not convinced by the denials and continue citing the alleged e-mails.
In addition to the countless analysts and experts raising doubts about the attack and who may have perpetrated it, major foreign governments supporting the Syrian dictatorship have also suggested that Western powers are falsely blaming the attack on Assad to justify overt military intervention. "The West is unable to present evidence of the involvement of the Syrian authorities in chemical attacks, but states that a 'red line' in the situation has been passed," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in a press conference. "You can't fight a regime only because you don't personally like the dictator leading it and not fight some regimes where you like the dictator."
Independent experts cited in a recent report for The New American about the attack have also expressed serious doubts about the credibility of claims blaming Assad. While the UN continues its investigation at the site — a probe that analysts say the Obama administration is trying to sabotage — the only scintilla of supposed “evidence” offered against Assad thus far is “phone conversations” allegedly overheard by U.S. intelligence services. According to Foreign Policy, “an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers.” However, if anything, the conversations appear to show that regime leaders were bewildered by the attack — hardly what one would expect if the deployment had indeed been ordered by the dictatorship.
Even sources known to be close to the U.S. government’s foreign-policy establishment have indicated that major questions remain. According to an analysis by the U.S.-based private intelligence firm Stratfor sent out by e-mail, for example, “we really don't know what happened” and the situation in Syria is “among the most difficult we have seen.” Not only was Assad not losing the war, he had recently achieved some military success, Stratfor said, adding that the despot knew chemical weapons could spark overt U.S. intervention.
“Could the rebels have staged the attack in order to draw in an attack on al-Assad?” the company wondered. “Could the pictures have been faked? Could a third party, hoping to bog the United States down in another war, have done it? The answers to these questions are important, because they guide the U.S. and its allies’ response. The official explanation could be absolutely true – or not. We can't shy away from alternative explanations simply because they seem outlandish and conspiratorial. Nor can we embrace them.”
While the facts may be impossible to determine at this point based on publicly available information, it has become clear that the Obama administration, a bi-partisan coalition of war mongers in Congress, European powers, and various Sunni despots are determined to oust Assad from power using any pretext. Indeed, news reports and official statements suggest a U.S. government attack on Syria could be imminent, with the president apparently under the wildly mistaken notion that he can start a war without Congress.
Only nine percent of Americans support U.S. intervention in Syria, polls show. Regardless of who was behind the chemical attack, however, the Constitution requires a congressional declaration of war. Even if it did not, getting the U.S. involved in yet another war — especially based on what may well be a false-flag attack — would be a dangerous and almost certainly counterproductive move. For now, countless experts say the evidence points to mass deception to achieve the long-sought goal of “regime change” in Syria.
Photo of UN investigator taking samples near a missile likely used in the chemical attack in Damascus: AP Images
Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. He can be reached at
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