Interpreting Middle East Economic News and Analyzing Market Trends

Who was behind the recent chemical attack in Syria? Did the US play a role?

Syria Chems Capabilities

Source: The Independent

Who was behind the worst chemical attack the world has seen in decades? We may never know.  Both the rebels and the Syrian regime are pointing their fingers at each other.  There is also finger pointing outside Syria.  Russia is blaming the rebels and the US is blaming Assad.  There is more to this story than what is currently being fed to us.

 

As the UN heads to the site of the chemical weapons attack, Russia urges the international community not to rush to judgment before investigator have a chance to review what evidence remains:

 

Russia said on Sunday that assigning blame too soon over the alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria would be a “tragic mistake”, before a U.N. investigation on Monday.

Without directly naming the United States but in comments that warned against any military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government, Moscow urged against “hurried conclusions” over the reports of a poison gas attack.

“We strongly urge those who, in trying to impose their opinion on U.N. experts ahead of the results of an investigation, announce the possibility of military action against Syria, to exercise discretion and not make tragic mistakes,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Read the full story from Reuters.

 

Meanwhile, the US is certain Assad was behind the attack and is preparing for a military response:

   

Moving a step closer to possible American military action in Syria, a senior Obama administration official said Sunday that there was “very little doubt” that President Bashar al-Assad’s military forces had used chemical weapons against civilians last week and that a Syrian promise to allow United Nations inspectors access to the site was “too late to be credible.”

The official, in a written statement, said that “based on the reported number of victims, reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, witness accounts and other facts gathered by open sources, the U.S. intelligence community, and international partners, there is very little doubt at .”

The statement, released Sunday morning on the condition that the official not be named, reflected a tougher tone after President Obama’s meeting at the White House on Saturday with his national security team, during which advisers discussed options for military action.

The president, who warned a year ago that the use of chemical weapons by Syrian government forces would be a “red line,” has faced criticism from Congressional Republicans and others for failing to respond more forcefully to evidence of earlier, smaller-scale chemical attacks. Mr. Obama, who inherited two costly wars — in Iraq and Afghanistan — has been extremely reluctant to commit American military forces, even in the form of missile strikes, to another tangled conflict in the Middle East.

But on Sunday, the White House seemed to take a harder line, dismissing the Syrian promise of possible access by United Nations inspectors.

Those discussions, officials said, were meant to gauge whether Britain and France are on the same page as the United States, given that they could be part of a coalition carrying out strikes against Syria.

 Read the full story from the New York Times.

 

It’s ironic that President Obama “warned” a year ago that using chemical weapons would be the redline not to be crossed or face US action.  The headline from a Yahoo news story from last January speaks for itself:

 

US ‘backed plan to launch chemical weapon attack on Syria, blame it on Assad govt’: Report

 

Here’s the full story:

 

London, Jan 30 (ANI): The Obama administration gave green signal to a chemical weapons attack plan in Syria that could be blamed on President Bashar al Assad’s regime and in turn, spur international military action in the devastated country, leaked documents have shown.

A new report, that contains an email exchange between two senior officials at British-based contractor Britam Defence, showed a scheme ‘approved by Washington’.

As per the scheme ‘Qatar would fund rebel forces in Syria to use chemical weapons,’ the Daily Mail reports.

Barack Obama made it clear to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad last month that the U.S. would not tolerate Syria using chemical weapons against its own people.

According to Infowars.com, the December 25 email was sent from Britam’s Business Development Director David Goulding to company founder Philip Doughty.

The emails were released by a Malaysian hacker who also obtained senior executives resumes and copies of passports via an unprotected company server, according to Cyber War News.

According to the paper, the U.S. State Department has declined to comment on the matter. (ANI)

The original story is posted here from Yahoo.

 

So what’s really happening in Syria?  No one knows for sure, but here are a few facts that are known and not widely discussed in the media:

  • Both sides have access to chemical weapons
  • There are many different rebel groups and few get along, all have their own agendas and there have been cases of fighting among them.  Expect this to increase once the Assad regime weakens and they fight for power
  • Even if the US had nothing to do with the attacks, the fact that they made it a redline is enough to motivate a group to carry out an attack and blame the Assad regime
  • Qatar, which was a key backer of Libyan rebels, has been opening backing more than one rebel faction and other Gulf Countries, such as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have been sending “support” in various forms to Syria.
  • The US, Britain, France, Russia, Turkey, Iran and China all have an interest in how the Syrian conflict plays out and this is causing tension among them.  The more obvious is Russian and Iran vs. the US and EU.

No matter how this plays out.  There are no winners in Syria.