Syria: If Obama and others want wars “- let them put their boots and fight
Posted on September 7th, 2013

Shenali D Waduge

It is getting a wee bit tiring to have supposed leaders think that electing them to office gives them a right to declare wars and military interventions without any aggression to their own nations and sending troops to a hotbed of chaos much of which have been orchestrated by them. The armed forces of a nation are enlisted to “‘defend”‘ the nation “- defending does not translate to mean they are supposed to be the aggressor. Why have successive American Governments and Governments of NATO sent their troops to nations when none of these nations ever challenged them? Have these Presidential Orders not left scores of troops dead, scores of native civilian dead, civilian infrastructure brought to ruins and total anarchy thereafter. No sooner western troop casualties started to climb the cowardly response was to send unmanned drones to do the dirty work that previously Western troops had been ordered to do. Our question is quite simple if Obama or any other political leader wants to take out a single enemy leader let them take their boots and fight instead of committing the lives of innocent soldiers and descending upon nations to completely destroy them. It is time these killings stop wherever it takes place.

Iraq was based on a lie. That lie cost the US taxpayer $3trillion, 6668 mothers mourned their sons deaths (from both Iraq and Afghanistan), more than 32,000 soldiers were wounded some with critical brain and spinal injuries for life. Invasion was in 2003 and inspite of acknowledging the non-existence of WMD”‘s the US continued to occupy Iraq. A make-believe Iraqi-self-rule “‘puppet”‘ Government was established “- US calls this “‘full-fledged democracy”‘.

We may never know the exact number of civilian deaths in Iraq “- the estimates have varied. Associated Press puts Iraqi deaths at 110,600 (March 2003-April 2009), Costs of War Project says 176,000 to 189,000 deaths (March 2003-February 2013), Iraqi Body Count puts deaths between 112,667 to 123,284 (March 2003-March 2013), Iraq Family Health Survey says 151,000 deaths from March 2003 to June 2006, Lancet Survey says 601,027 violent deaths out of 654,965 excess deaths (March 2003-June 2006), Opinion Research Business Survey says 1,033,000 deaths from March 2003 to August 2007 while the Classified Iraq War Logs puts deaths at 109,032 (January 2004-December 2009). What needs to be reiterated here quite categorically is that to get rid of ONE man (Saddam) the US and Allies have killed hundreds and thousands of people and they have continued to do the same damage even after realizing the collateral damage of civilian deaths that take place.

John McCain who posed with rebels in Syria thinks that by saying “…”I want to begin by saying to you I am unalterably opposed to having a single American boot on the ground in Syria,”‚ McCain said. “…”The American people wouldn”‘t stand for it”‘ it gives US the license to send all its sophisticated air capabilities to bomb Syria simply because not a single American soldier would die. Is it alright for women, children and innocent men to die but not American or NATO soldiers? Is this the logic which the US Governments and Oppositions take their decisions?

Thankfully not all Americans think like Obama or McCain. Stephen Colbert says that “‘If America cared about shooting people, we”‘d be invading Chicago”‘.

America and Obama and some other nations have all got into a frenzy citing the use of chemicals in Syria with no proof that chemicals were used by President Assad”‘s Government. However, there is enough proof of America”‘s use of chemicals which next asks what moral right does any American Government to accuse others. US does not have any legal authority for military intervention in Syria either.

Exactly why is Syria and its 21million populace being targeted?

§  Is it because Syria does not have a Rothschild Central Bank (Libya did not have one either and one of the first things to happen in Libya post-Gaddafi death was to align its national bank to the global banking network)

§  Is it because Syria like Iraq, Libya and Iran, had followed an economic model that was more state-centered?

§  Is it because Syria like Iran and Libya, is not beholden to the IMF/World Bank for any loans (an unusual phenomena in the era of globalization)

§  Is it because Syria”‘s President Assad Banned GMOs in Food “‘to Preserve the Health of Human Beings”‘

§  Is it because Syria is seeking to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

§  Is it because Syria has natural gas and plans to use pipelines

§  Is it because Syria is the last secular country in the Middle East?

§  Is it because Syria has a strong national identity?

§  Is it because President Assad stands in the way of gas pipeline when in 2009 a new gas field was discovered near Israel, Lebanon, Cyprus, and Syria opened new possibilities to bypass the Saudi Barrier and to secure a new source of income.  Pipelines are in place already in Turkey to receive the gas.   

The history of US use of chemical weapons against innocent people are many:

1.    US military sprayed 20million gallons of chemicals on Vietnam from 1962-1971 including toxic Agent Orange on the forests and farmlands of Vietnam and neighboring countries deliberately destroying food supplies, ruining the jungle ecology and devastating the lives of thousands of innocent people. 10 years of chemical attacks left 400,000 Vietnamese killed or maimed, 500,000 babies born with birth defects, 2million suffering cancers and other illnesses. In 2012 the Red Cross estimated that 1million Vietnamese have disabilities or health problems because of Agent Orange. How proud is the American Government?

2.    Israel”‘s use of White Phosphorus on Palestinian Civilians (2008-2009). White phosphorous is a chemical that melts human flesh upto the bones. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, International Red Cross accused Israeli Government of using white phosphorous in 2009. Israel initially denied but admitted to its use.

3.    US use white phosphorus in 2004 on Iraqi civilians in Fallujah. US military first lied and then admitted using white phosphorous as an incendiary weapon.

4.    CIA helps Saddam Hussein massacre Iranians and Kurds with Chemical weapons in 1988 “- Sarin, never gas, mustard gas were used in the Iran-Iraq war killing thousands of people and injuring scores more. Thousands died from complications, disease and birth defects.

5.    US army tests chemicals on Black and Poor residents in St. Louis in 1950s “- The US Government lied to these residents claiming they were experimenting a smokescreen to protect the city from Russian attacks but what they did was to pump the air full of powdered zinc cadmium sulfide and the 2nd ingredient used remains classified information.  Immediately following the air tests, the residents started to develop cancer.

6.    US fires tear gas and chemical irritants at Occupy Wall Street Protesters “- 2011

7.    US military drops toxic depleted uranium on Iraq in 2003  - thousands of tons of munitions from depleted uranium, a toxic and radioactive nuclear waste product dropped on Iraq resulting in more than half the babies born in Fallujah from 2007-2010 born with birth defects, cancer increased drastically, Christopher Busby, Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk says “‘these are weapons which have absolutely destroyed the genetic integrity of the population of Iraq”‘ and described Fallujah as having “‘the highest rate of genetic damage in any population ever studied”‘.

8.    US military kills hundreds and thousands of Japanese civilians with Napalm (1944-45) Napalm is a sticky and highly flammable get used as a weapon of terror by US military. In 1980 UN declared use of napalm on civilians as a war crime. If so, what the US did in 1944 was a war crime. One single bombing raid on Tokyo burned 100,000 people to death and injured over 1million and left over 1million without homes.

9.    US military drops nuclear bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945. Nuclear bombs are not considered chemical weapons yet how worse a crime when radioactive chemicals were used to wipe out an entire city full of civilians. The ONLY Government to go to the extent of using this weapon of terror to wipe out human beings but claims to call itself the champion of peace is the US Government.

Is it not time the American public thought about the lives of other humans just as how the British public have risen to the occasion and are not allowing their Government to attack Syria. Whether President Assad is a dictator or not what we need to think is that in all of the military interventions that have taken place it is the civilians that have ended up jumping from the frying pan into the fire and the US has been behaving like a bull in a china shop.

As for the allegation of chemical usage in Syria, Syrian rebels in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta have admitted to Associated Press correspondent Dale Gavlak that they were responsible for last week”‘s chemical weapons incident which western powers have blamed on Bashar Al-Assad”‘s forces, revealing that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia. http://www.infowars.com/rebels-admit-responsibility-for-chemical-weapons-attack/

Who are supporting these Syrian “‘rebels”‘ “- incidentally these “‘rebels”‘ are NOT natives but are “‘mercenaries”‘.

Taken from www.ft.com:

The tiny gas-rich state of Qatar has spent as much as $3bn over the past two years supporting the rebellion in Syria, far exceeding any other government, but is now being nudged aside by Saudi Arabia as the prime source of arms to rebels.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which tracks arms transfers, Qatar has sent the most weapons deliveries to Syria, with more than 70 military cargo flights into neighbouring Turkey between April 2012 and March this year

“‘many rebels in Syria”‘s Aleppo province received a one off monthly salary of $150 courtesy of Qatar. Sources close to the Qatari government say total spending has reached as much as $3bn”‘.

Even the US has been shipping weapons to rebels in Syria via NATO-member Turkey and Jordan since at least early 2012. What can we say when US is handing arms to an organization that it has banned as a terrorist (Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, US designated terror front, Jabhat al-Nusra)? How could civilized nations support groups that have killed Syrian soldiers and eaten their hearts seen via video footage? What is the logic the US can say of fighting the Al Qaeda by arming the Al Qaeda in Syria? Obama administration’s pledged to provide an additional $123 million in aid, which may include for the first time armored vehicles, body armor, night vision goggles and other defensive military supplies.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/21/us-doubles-aid-to-syrian-rebels-who-want-more/#ixzz2eDZImivX. If so can democratic countries hold talks with the US at diplomatic levels if its policy also includes arming rebels and even mercenaries? When US, UK and France goes the length and trains Syrian rebels in Jordan does that not cross the red line of civility especially when last October the Pentagon confirmed that a small group of US special forces and military advisers had spent the summer in Jordan training the country”‘s military to act in case Syria used its chemical weapons “- does this not equate to mean that chemical weapons was to be what WMDs was to Iraq to facilitate the Iraqi invasion? Why would western media attempt to hides the fact that these civilized nations along with friends in the Middle East are breaking international Geneva Laws?

All that needs to be said at this stage of the situation is that for whatever the reasons there should be no more bloodshed and no nation should sponsor or supervise killing of people. We have had enough of death and destruction in this world of supposed “‘humans”‘ and our society is degenerating. Let the soldiers defend the nation from aggressors “- soldiers should not be ordered to be the aggresors and politicians have no right to manipulate people, their lives or nations to suit their agendas. Force should be used when attacked in self-defence and no country has any right to go bombing other nations for whatever reasons it concocts and spreads using mainstream media.

The days of wars must stop. The days of invasions and military interventions must not be allowed. Let us all rebuild this world minus wars, conflicts and invasions. Let us all say a firm “‘NO”‘ to all those promoting wars, conflicts and military interventions.

We need more peace, compassion and respect for not only human beings but all sentient beings as well.

 

 

15 Responses to “Syria: If Obama and others want wars “- let them put their boots and fight”

  1. Ananda-USA Says:

    Briefing. Chemical weapons 101: Six facts about sarin and Syria’s stockpile

    Accusations that Syria used chemical weapons on rebel strongholds outside Damascus draw renewed attention to the banned nerve agent sarin – the weapon that medical personnel on the scene suspect was used and the agent US intelligence officials believe was used by government forces on at least two earlier occasions in the country’s civil war.

    It was the earlier suspected uses of sarin in Syria that led President Obama to find in April that the regime of Bashar Assad had almost certainly crossed a “red line” in its 2-1/2-year battle with rebels seeking his ouster.

    Perhaps the best-known recent use of sarin previously was in the 1995 Tokyo subway attack – known in Japan as the Subway Sarin Incident – in which members of a domestic cult-turned-terrorist group punctured bags of liquid sarin with sharpened umbrella tips in subway cars.

    At least 13 people died in the attack and some 1,000 were injured.

    But sarin’s legacy is about to get an update. With casualty reports suggesting the attacks near Damascus are the deadliest since Saddam Hussein gassed the Iraqi Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988 – sarin seems likely to be associated with Syria and Mr. Assad.

    [Updated Aug. 21, 2013]

    1. What is sarin?

    Sarin is a nerve agent first developed by German researchers in the late 1930s. Up to 500 times more toxic than cyanide, it is a colorless and odorless liquid that causes severe muscle spasms, vision loss, and asphyxia, and which can kill within a minute of contact in extreme cases.

    Sarin was classified as a “weapon of mass destruction” and banned in the United Nations’ Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993. Syria is one of six countries that have not signed the convention.

    2. How is sarin delivered?

    Sarin can be deployed as a liquid (as in the Tokyo subway) but it can also be loaded onto missiles and mortars. In warheads it can be loaded with other chemicals or precursors that can convert the sarin to a nerve gas. Sarin-filled canisters can also be fired from anti-tank guns and shoulder-mounted launchers.

    3. What is known about Mr. Assad’s sarin stockpile?

    Syria’s Assad regime, under Bashar’s father, Hafez al-Assad, is believed to have first stockpiled mustard gas in the 1970s, but in the 1980s it began converting pesticide plants to the production of sarin.

    The Assad regime now stockpiles tons of the nerve agent in up to 50 locations. But so far the regime is believed by outside authorities (including the Israelis, who are most concerned about a transfer of chemical weapons to Assad’s non-state allies, such as Hezbollah) to have kept control of its stockpiles of chemical weapons including sarin, mustard gas, and perhaps the even more toxic gas VX that the CIA believes the Syrian government has tried to develope.

    4. When has sarin been used as a chemical weapon?

    A decade before Tokyo’s Subway Sarin Incident, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein used sarin against Iranian forces in the Iran-Iraq war – and in 1988 as part of the cocktail of chemical weapons he unleashed against the Kurdish population of Halabja in northern Iraq. About 5,000 people were killed.

    In 2004, Iraqi insurgents fired a shell containing precursors for sarin against a US military convoy. Two US soldiers were treated for symptoms of sarin exposure, but the exploded shell released only a small amount of sarin, perhaps because the chemicals were old or simply because the chemicals failed to mix inside the spinning shell as intended.

    5. Why have the US and others had so much trouble proving Assad used sarin?

    Syrian opposition forces said that up to 30 people died in attacks in March, and most of the photo evidence showed survivors exhibiting signs of what could be sarin exposure, such as foaming at the mouth and constricted pupils. In the much deadlier August attacks – some opposition sources claimed the death toll was as high as 1,300 – survivors showed the same telltale signs of possible sarin exposure.

    Evidence of the use of sarin in Syria is coming in the form of photos, videos, soil samples, and blood samples – the latter being the most conclusive form of evidence, according to military experts. But the blood samples from the earlier attacks were provided by Syrian opposition forces, according to US officials speaking on the condition of anonymity – a fact that reduced the “degree of confidence” that US intelligence agencies had in them because they could have been tainted to provide a particular conclusion.

    This is why the US and other countries, including Britain and France, pressed so hard for a UN chemical weapons investigation team to gain access to Syria. That team finally arrived in mid-August – just days before the most recent attacks and only after months of high-stakes diplomatic wrangling.

    Assad was originally supportive of a UN team investigating one reported March 19 attack – but when UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for the team to look into all reported incidents of chemical weapons use, Assad balked.

    Siding with Assad, Russia said a broadened investigation risked turning into a repeat of the UN’s investigation of Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” – weapons that as it turned out did not exist, but which nevertheless served as the pretext for the US invasion.

    6. Hasn’t Assad said he would never use chemical weapons against his own people?

    Last September, the Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Jihad Makdissi, declared the regime would only use chemical weapons in the case of an “external aggression.” (Since then Mr. Makdissi has fled the country). The declaration was noteworthy because it was the regime’s first acknowledgment that it possesses chemical weapons stockpiles – but also because it offered some reassurance that Assad had his own “red line” about using his stockpiled sarin and mustard gas against Syrians.

    But some skeptics of the regime’s intentions say it’s worth keeping in mind that Assad, who seems to have had no qualms about raining down Scud missiles and explosives from helicopters and bombers onto Syrian neighborhoods, has also made a point of describing the rebels fighting him as “terrorists,” and in some cases as terrorists who have come from outside Syria to fight.

    As evidence of the August attacks spread around the world, Syrian officials followed the regime’s established pattern: It was “illogical” to think the government would attack the Damascus suburbs with chemical weapons, they said, but they also repeated the regime’s characterization of its opponents as “terrorists.”

    George Lopez, a former UN sanctions expert now at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., says that not only does Assad insist that the uprising is coming from “foreign terrorists,” but US and other experts now agree that foreign extremists are increasingly involved in the fighting.

    Put those factors together, he says, and one can see how Assad’s “sick logic” would “excuse and explain” the use of chemical weapons.

    After the March attacks Professor Lopez echoed those who said Assad might have launched a small-scale chemical weapons attack as a test for something bigger, adding, “We should be very, very worried.” The August attacks might be the kind of thing he was warning about.

  2. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    I agree with the article. First point is that the US as the “sole superpower” days are numbered and according to the media Channel CNN the US borrows 10 Billion per month from China or 120 Billion a year. Our debt is rising so fast that the printing of money cannot keep up with it.

    But at the end of the day what has that got to do with the US and Russia’s intervention in the Syrian war? everything. One must realize that moral issues are one of the first victims of war. In the Sri Lankan civil war it was not simply between Colombo and the LITE but it also included India who for the most part supported the LITE and it included both China and Pakistan who for the most part supported Colombo.

    After the war ended the LITE supporters are now in a campaign to get Eelam through other means. Through the use of the UNHRC or the support of many western nations including the US. Now the players include Russia, China, the US and India when human rights motions are passed to justify the creation of Eelam.

    There is hardly a war that outside powers have not had some vested interest and have taken sides for their own political reasons. That too is the nature of war – it is seldom fought in isolation.

  3. Nimal Says:

    US is hypocritical over this and violates the international law if it attacks Syria.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Yes USA is the biggest hypocrite in the world. ALWAYS double standards.

    I hope Russia will teach USA a lesson. But my gut feel is that Putin only talks.

    Sarin attack was done by Chemical Bandar (Bandar Bin Sultan) and his Al Qaeda terrorists.

  5. gdesilva Says:

    These wars are carried out by the rich elite using the poor in rich countries to kill the poor in other parts of the world so that the rich can increase their wealth – every other reason is just an excuse to carry out this inhumae act to get the poor to kill the poor.

  6. Sooriarachi Says:

    When Obama said the use of Chemical weapons would amount to crossing a red line, which would involve US action, it was a clear signal that the Americans were going to use this as the key to enter Syrian conflict, using the notoriously misused R2P doctrine. This threat, allowed forces opposing the Assad regime, such as the Syrian opposition, US/Saudi mercenaries recruited from places like Chechnya and Libya; Al-Qaida/AlNusra forces; NATO and other stake holders to draw in the USA, by using chemical weapons in the conflict. This is exactly what has happened in Syria according to Russia and it is good to know that this time both Russia and China are refusing to act outside the UN and not get fooled by the US, UK, EU alliance, as happened with Libya. Also, the people of UK and USA seem to be overwhelmingly opposed to such action, knowing how their politicians could mercilessly destroy other nations, if they get the slightest opening.
    It is agonising to see the innocent people in Iraq, Libya, Syria etc suffering so much, even today, because of the arrogant cowardly, inhuman actions of the Western alliance and the West friendly dictators in countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
    The dilemma now for the USA is to find a way to replace their ageing arsenal of weapons using funds offered by Saudi and Quatar leaders, without being able to use these weapons on Syria and then on Iran, on the pretext of protecting human rights.

  7. AnuD Says:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/09/06/manufacturing-consent-on-syria

    There are so many articles in the web which says how Saudi Arabian Intelligence Chief Provided chemical weapons without saying what those were and they mishandled those weapons causing this disaster. SA – Intelligence Chief is one from the Saudi Royal Family and he is the one who threatened PUTIN too asking him to stay from the Syrian war if not Chechyan Muslim extremist would scuttle the SOCHI OLympics.

    But, we here in the Radio is all propaganda saying that is the Syrian govt which ordered the Chemical attack.

    Google and see.

  8. Lorenzo Says:

    UNLESS Russia has sold S300 air defence system to Syria and unless Russia attacks Saudi in retaliation if Syria is attacked, it is GAME OVER for Assad.

    Next is Iran. Thereafter Russia. Thereafter China. North Korea will automatically fall.

    IF Russia cannot DEFEND its ally, it is NOT a great power. I hope Putin will NOT end up Pussy Riot.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    The looming threat to Attack Syria has NOTHING TO WITH a Chemical Attack by the Syrian Govt against Syrian Civilians; it is a PRETEXT to destroy… one by one … the Shia powers (Syria, Lebanon’s Hezbollah) allied to Iran, to weaken and force Iran to give up its nuclear fuel cycle program in defence of Israel.

    Obama promised Israel he would do it before his term as President ends, and HERE IT BEGINS!

    Curiously, ALL of the nations attempting to deny Iran its Sovereign Right to develop a nuclear fuel cycle for whatever purpose it wants, including nuclear power plants and/or nuclear weapons for its defence as a nation daily threatened with military attack, are themselves armed to the teeth with nuclear arsenals sufficient to destroy the entire world several times over.

    Israel, which URGES the US to be its cats paw in attacking Iran, has the 5th largest nuclear stockpile in the world. HYPOCRISY and DOUBLE STANDARDS Incarnate!!

    Since WWII ended with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, nuclear exchanges have been prevented solely by relying on the Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine exploiting the intrinsic interest of nuclear nations in their own survival. The MAD doctrine worked to prevent a nuclear holocaust between the Soviet Union and the United States, spawning only proxy wars in other countries.

    A nuclear Iran can also be contained by the very same MAD DOCTRINE; there is no need to apply hypocritical double standards and resort to PRETEXTS to demonize and attack Iran, to prevent Iran from going nuclear. Let Iran go nuclear …ultimately, there is nothing we can do about it anyway!

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    Obama’s case against Syria is disappearing fast!

    They say that there is more “evidence” to come and they apologize for the delay; the NSA is still busy fabricating it!

    …………………….
    Doubts linger over Syria gas attack responsibility

    ZEINA KARAM and KIMBERLY DOZIER 1 hour ago
    Associated Press

    BEIRUT (AP) — The U.S. government insists it has the intelligence to prove it, but the public has yet to see a single piece of concrete evidence produced by U.S. intelligence — no satellite imagery, no transcripts of Syrian military communications — connecting the government of President Bashar Assad to the alleged chemical weapons attack last month that killed hundreds of people.

    In its absence, Damascus and its ally Russia have aggressively pushed another scenario: that rebels carried out the Aug. 21 chemical attack. Neither has produced evidence for that case, either. That’s left more questions than answers as the U.S. threatens a possible military strike.

    The early morning assault in a rebel-held Damascus suburb known as Ghouta was said to be the deadliest chemical weapons attack in Syria’s 2½-year civil war. Survivors’ accounts, photographs of many of the dead wrapped peacefully in white sheets and dozens of videos showing victims in spasms and gasping for breath shocked the world and moved President Barack Obama to call for action because the use of chemical weapons crossed the red line he had drawn a year earlier.

    Yet one week after Secretary of State John Kerry outlined the case against Assad, Americans — at least those without access to classified reports — haven’t seen a shred of his proof.

    There is open-source evidence that provides clues about the attack, including videos of fragments from the rockets that analysts believe were likely used. U.S. officials on Saturday released a compilation of videos showing victims, including children, exhibiting what appear to be symptoms of nerve gas poisoning. Some experts think the size of the strike, and the amount of toxic chemicals that appear to have been delivered, make it doubtful that the rebels could have carried it out.

    What’s missing from the public record is direct proof, rather than circumstantial evidence, tying this to the regime.

    The Obama administration, searching for support from a divided Congress and skeptical world leaders, says its own assessment is based mainly on satellite and signals intelligence, including intercepted communications and satellite images indicating that in the three days prior to the attack that the regime was preparing to use poisonous gas.

    But multiple requests to view that satellite imagery have been denied, though the administration produced copious amounts of satellite imagery earlier in the war to show the results of the Syrian regime’s military onslaught. When asked Friday whether such imagery would be made available showing the Aug. 21 incident, a spokesman referred The Associated Press to a map produced by the White House last week that shows what officials say are the unconfirmed areas that were attacked.

    The Obama administration maintains it intercepted communications from a senior Syrian official on the use of chemical weapons, but requests to see that transcript have been denied. So has a request by the AP to see a transcript of communications allegedly ordering Syrian military personnel to prepare for a chemical weapons attack by readying gas masks.

    The U.S. administration says its evidence is classified and is only sharing details in closed-door briefings with members of Congress and key allies.

    Yet the assessment, also based on accounts by Syrian activists and hundreds of YouTube videos of the attack’s aftermath, has confounded many experts who cannot fathom what might have motivated Assad to unleash weapons of mass destruction on his own people — especially while U.N. experts were nearby and at a time when his troops had the upper hand on the ground.

    Rebels who accuse Assad of the attack have suggested he had learned of fighters’ plans to advance on Damascus, his seat of power, and ordered the gassing to prevent that.

    “We can’t get our heads around this — why would any commander agree to rocketing a suburb of Damascus with chemical weapons for only a very short-term tactical gain for what is a long-term disaster,” said Charles Heyman, a former British military officer who edits The Armed Forces of the U.K., an authoritative bi-annual review of British forces.

    Inconsistencies over the death toll and other details related to the attack also have fueled doubts among skeptics.

    The Obama administration says 1,429 people died in 12 locations mostly east of the capital, an estimate close to the one put out by the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition. When asked for victims’ names, however, the group provided a list of 395. On that list, some of the victims were identified by a first name only or said to be members of a certain family. There was no explanation for the hundreds of missing names.

    In Ghouta, Majed Abu Ali, a spokesman for 17 clinics and field hospitals near Damascus, produced the same list, saying the hospitals were unable to identify all the dead.

    Casualty estimates by other groups are far lower: The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it only counts victims identified by name, and that its current total stands at 502. It has questioned the U.S. number and urged the Obama administration to release the information its figure is based on. The AP also has repeatedly asked for clarification on those numbers.

    The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders says it has not been able to update its initial Aug. 24 estimate of 355 killed because communication with those on the ground around Damascus is difficult. That estimate was based on reports from three hospitals in the area supported by the group.

    Moreover, the group, whose initial report was cited in U.S. and British intelligence assessments, has rejected the use of it “as a justification for military action,” adding in a disclaimer published on its website that the group does not have the capacity to identify the cause of the neurotoxic symptoms of patients nor the ability to determine responsibility for the attack.

    French and Israeli intelligence assessments support the U.S., as does reportedly Germany’s spy agency, on its conclusion the Syrian regime was responsible. However, none have backed those claims with publicly presented evidence either.

    Some have suggested the possibility, at least in theory, that the attack may have been ordered by a “rogue commander” in Assad’s military or fighters seeking to frame the regime.

    Hisham Jaber, a retired Lebanese army general who closely follows Syria’s war, said it would be “political suicide” for the regime to commit such an act given Obama’s warning. He also questioned U.S. assertions that the Syrian rebel fighters could not have launched sophisticated chemical weapons. He said that some among the estimated 70,000 defectors from the Syrian military, many of them now fighting for the opposition, could have been trained to use them.

    “It is conceivable that one or more know how to fit a rocket or artillery shell with a chemical agent,” said Jaber, who also heads the Beirut-based Middle East Center for Studies and Political Research. He claimed Syrian insurgents have acquired chemical weapons, bought from tribes in Libya after the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, through Saudi interlocutors. Other weapons from Libya have been used in the conflict, though Jaber did not offer evidence to support his chemical weapon claim.

    Saudi Arabia has been a chief supporter of the opposition. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, head of Saudi intelligence, recently flew to Moscow, reportedly on a mission to get Russia to drop its support for Assad.

    Syrian government officials and Assad accused foreign fighters of carrying out the attacks with the help of countries like Saudi Arabia and Turkey in the hopes of prompting an international military intervention.

    Syria says some of its own soldiers were badly contaminated in Jobar, on the edge of Damascus, as they went into tunnels cleared by the rebels. U.N. experts, who had been collecting tissue and other samples from victims in Ghouta, also visited the Mazzeh military hospital in Damascus, taking samples from injured soldier there.

    Two days after the Ghouta attack, state television broadcast images of plastic jugs, gas masks, medicine vials, explosives and other items that it said were seized from rebel hideouts. One barrel had “made in Saudi Arabia” stamped on it.

    In the U.S., the case for military action has evoked comparisons to false data used by the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

    Multiple U.S. officials have told AP that the intelligence tying Assad himself to the Aug. 21 attack was “not a slam dunk” — a reference to then-CIA Director George Tenet’s insistence in 2002 that U.S. intelligence showed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction — intelligence that turned out to be wrong. They cite the lack of a direct link between Assad and the chemical assault — a question the administration discounts by arguing Assad’s responsibility as Syria’s commander in chief. A second issue is that U.S. intelligence has lost track of some chemical weaponry, leaving a slim possibility that rebels acquired some of the deadly substances.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin — a staunch ally of Assad — said if there is evidence that chemical weapons have been used, specifically by the regular army, it should be submitted to the U.N. Security Council.

    “And it ought to be convincing. It shouldn’t be based on some rumors and information obtained by intelligence agencies through some kind of eavesdropping, some conversations and things like that,” he told The Associated Press in an interview late Tuesday.

    David M. Crane, an international law professor at Syracuse University in New York, said the scale of the attack makes it very unlikely that anyone other than the regime was behind it.

    “I think it was a calculated risk by the Assad regime to push to see how far he can go while causing a great deal of political disruption,” he said. “It’s a huge gamble, but he’s in a very risky situation.”

  11. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda,

    I agree with MOST of what you say but DISAGREE on Iran’s nuke program.

    The problem with Iran is it has VOWED TO ERASE Israel from the world map while developing nuke weapons!!

    NO COUNTRY will tolerate such DASDARDLY threats.

    The other problem is WHEN Iran goes nuclear, SUNNI countries led by Saudi will ALSO want to go nuclear. That creates a new nuclear arms race in the world’s MOST volatile extremism ridden, barbaric region – the middle east.

    That shouldn’t be allowed.

    OUT of 2 chemical attacks so far after WW2 by political elements, ALL 2 instances were by Sunni terrorists (Saddamn Hussein and Bandar Bin Sultan). That is what they will do IF they have nukes. Spread of Wahabism with the backing of NUKES is very dangerous.

  12. Lorenzo Says:

    Russia asks Syria to ABANDON chemical weapons!

    IF Syria abandons chemical weapons, it will be TARGETED by USA WITHOUT ANY PROBLEM.

    As expected Russian COWARDS are preparing Syria for DEFEAT.

    Syria has chemical weapons for a reason – to STOP any country attacking it. IF chemical weapons are not there Syria is as exposed as a naked dogs’ balls.

  13. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    Regarding Iran’s “vow to erase Israel” … every other Moslem nation … Sunni and Shia … has said that SOMETIME in the past as their ANGER at Israeli activities, including wars, invasions across borders, bombings, settlement of Palestinian land, and development successes, spills over the brim.

    Today, militarily, economically and diplomatically, Israel enjoys an unassailable position, is largely IMMUNE to military threats, able to dictate terms to the Moslems in general, and Palestinians in particular. The sole remaining exception to that rule is Iran, as populous as Egypt, far wealthier than Egypt, geographically removed from Israel and difficult to attack by land, but controlling proxies in Lebanon and Gaza that annoy Israel continually.

    Every other Sunni Moslem enemy has been systematically destroyed one by one since the 1973 war, by overt and covert means, directly or indirectly, through 9/11 related anti-terrorism, WMD-related invasions, and Arab Spring-related strategies.

    Israelis seize upon the statements by that STUPID man Ahmadinejad as a convenient lever to influence and grow Western opinion against Iran because they CORRECTLY perceive Iran as the last remaining Moslem power capable of posing a significant threat to Israel’s overwhelming dominance over its Moslem neighbors and its expansionist agenda.

    There is NO THREAT from Iran … nuclear or non-nuclear … that Israel cannot handle … so Israel should STOP TRYING to use the United States as a cat’s paw to trun over the hot coals in its conflict with neighboring countries. In conventional military terms Iran cannot deploy its own land armies against Israel, and in nuclear terms Iran would be utterly stupid to attack Israel which has the world’s 5th largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. No, self-interest in survival based on the MAD doctrine will prevent that.

    Then, why would Iran want to develop nuclear fuel facilities? Let us assume first that Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons. Why … when this is a weapon it can never use without being destroyed itself. Simply because it prevents other countries from attacking it … and invading its territory … as in Iraq. Everyone in the world now realizes that nuclear weapons provide an effective DETERRENCE against all out attack by enemies. We saw that in the US Vs Soviet Union Cold War confrontation, we see it today in the India Vs Pakistan theater, North Korea survives primarily because of its few nuclear weapons.

    On the other hand, Iraq and Libya did not have nuclear weapons … they were invaded and destroyed. Pakistan would have been invaded and occupied by the US post 9/11 and India before that, if Pakistan did not have nuclear weapons. Therefore, we conclude, nuclear weapons provide an EFFECTIVE DETERRENCE to all-out attack by enemy countries both large and small. That is what Iran would want … not an offensive weapon … but a defensive weapon that would give it immunity from enemies …. Muslim, Western and Jewish …. surrounding it on all sides. No other country, I know, can make a better case for developing nuclear weapons for that DEFENSIVE purpose.

    Secondly, Iran’s population and internal petroleum consumption is growing rapidly, while its petroleum reserves are dwindling rapidly. An MIT study of Iran’s self-sufficiency in petroleum concluded that within 20 years, Iran will become a net petroleum importing country. Therefore, contrary to the queries of its enemies as to why a country floating on oil would want to develop nuclear fuel facilities and nuclear power plants, the thoughtful leaders of Iran, who know the true state of their oil reserves, are moving to develop plentiful supplies of nuclear energy for people. The difficulties they have faced in doing so, especially in getting fuel-rods for their Russian-built nuclear power plant, has convinced then that they cannot rely on foreign sources of nuclear fuels. Therefore, it is QUITE REASONABLE for the Iranians to develop nuclear fuel facilities as is their Sovereign National right to do.

    Let me address another point. Iran is being DEMONIZED as a militarily aggressive and terrorism sponsoring nation. It is DEFINITELY not MILITARILY AGGRESSIVE against other countries … that is the sole preserve of Western Neocolonialists, and arguably, Israel.

    In the last century … or more…. Iran has NEVER OFFENSIVELY ATTACKED any other nation, unlike its major critics. The Iraq-Iran war was the only instance of Iran fighting a major war with a neighboring country. In that war, Saddam Hussein …. sensing weakness within Iran during the political and military turmoil that followed the ouster of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Khomeini … decided to grab an important part of Iran … which he repeated later against Kuwait later. To Saddam’s dismay, Iran proved to be a very tough enemy capable of fighting on despite all the solely military advantages Saddam enjoyed … especially the conventional and Chemical weapons that the US ENTHUSIASTICALLY provided to inflict huge losses in soldiers on Iran, in retaliation for the ouster of the Shah and for embarrassing the US in the Embassy Hostage taking in Teheran.

    Beyond that, despite being a theocracy, the Iranian political system is far more democratic, and allows Iranian people the freedom of choice, than the surrounding Moslem countries the United States has allied it self with. The Iranian system of democracy is not created in the Western image, but why should it?

    As the leading Shia nation, and the protector of Shia communities worldwide, Iran does militarily support Shia communities threatened not only by Israel (in Lebanon and Syria), but also by Sunni Muslims … who demonize the Shia as “apostate” and seem to hate them more than even the Israelis!! On the other hand, observing both Sunni and Shia Muslims, it seems to me that Shia Muslims are more moderate and reasonable than their Sunni counterparts, once again indicating that Iranian Moslems, on the whole, are more emotionally stable and reasonable than the Sunni Moslems. Therefore, it may be time to stop DEMONIZING Iran and Shia Muslims, just because Israel and the Jewish Lobby wants us to do so, and to recognize that Iran and Iranians as reliable and stable partners for world peace.

    In fact, I believe, that it would be in the interest of both Israel and the United States to completely abandon their wrong attitudes of the past against Iran, and to reach out to Iran to create an enduring and stable relationship based on shared values. After all, the majority of the ordinary People of Iran that Americans loved so well during the reign of the Shah of Iran, did not change overnight into fanatical demons. But time is of the essence, for as Iranians are demonized, and pain and suffering is inflicted upon them, their attitudes towards their tormentors will also change for the worse, brainwashing and transforming the Iranian people as a whole from friend into enemy.

  14. Lorenzo Says:

    Ananda,

    As you know this is a friendly exchange. I KNOW your dedication to WHAT IS RIGHT based on your comments here.

    I AGREE WORD TO WORD with everything you say EXCEPT

    1. “There is NO THREAT from Iran … nuclear or non-nuclear … that Israel cannot handle”

    Of course but AT WHAT COST? Israel is a VERY SMALL country 1/3 of SL. A war with Iran despite winning it, can devastate Israel which will be used by Tamils (I mean Palestinians = Arabs, Jordaians, Egyptians, Saudis, etc.) to claim their mono ethnic homeland from Israel. Now they FEAR Israel and do nothing. That is why Israel needs an OUTSIDE power.

    2. “Iran has NEVER OFFENSIVELY ATTACKED any other nation”

    Not true. Iran sponsored Hezbullah, Syria have attacked MANY MANY countries and people. That is HOW modern warfare works – war by proxy. But I agree COMPARED to Saudi or Israel, Iran is BY FAR the most peaceful. On absolute terms – NO WAY!

    3. “Therefore, we conclude, nuclear weapons provide an EFFECTIVE DETERRENCE to all-out attack by enemy countries both large and small. That is what Iran would want … not an offensive weapon.”

    This is NOT deterrence! Iran finances, arms, trains, etc. Hezbullah (CAT’S PAW) to attack Israel. But Israel will be DETERRED from PROTECTING itself because the CAT – Iran is a nuke superpower!!! That is unfair. Iran will continue to use Hezbulla to attack Israel and there will be NOTHING Israel can do!!

    For this reason Iran MUST NOT have nuclear deterrence. IF Iran DISARMS Hezbullah, then I may agree.

    Another problem is Saudi will CERTAINLY follow Iran and have their own nukes. Egypt (LARGEST Arabic population) will follow. After that we will have MAD Islamic fanatical countries having nukes!! Apart from USA, ONLY Islamics have used chemical weapons after WW2. IF they have nukes, they will certainly use them too.

    Another reason why Iran should STOP its nuclear weapons program.

    4. “Therefore, contrary to the queries of its enemies as to why a country floating on oil would want to develop nuclear fuel facilities and nuclear power plants, the thoughtful leaders of Iran, who know the true state of their oil reserves, are moving to develop plentiful supplies of nuclear energy for people.”

    May be true but this is not the WHOLE story. Russia agreed to allow nuke fuel which must be returned after use. Comparing weight you can say whether they were USED UP or STORED (in nuke weapons). But Iran REJECTED it!

    Russia KNOWS Iran’s nuke program. Russia did NOT VETO action against Iran nuke program by the UN. Russia ONLY opposed ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS by the US.

    5. “In fact, I believe, that it would be in the interest of both Israel and the United States to completely abandon their wrong attitudes of the past against Iran, and to reach out to Iran to create an enduring and stable relationship based on shared values.”

    SOFT POWER – absolutely! Iranians are generally nice people UNLIKE Saudis or North Africans. US TV programs including BAYWATCH are EXTREMELY POPULAR in Iran.

    Allowing Iran to be a nuclear weapons power – NO!

  15. Ananda-USA Says:

    Lorenzo,

    OK. You and I have shared our views amicably, and there is no way we will adopt identical stands on Iran. Therefore, let us agree and disagree to the extent we do. Regards & Cheers!

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