Chem­i­cal at­tack in Idlib: Du­pli­ca­tion of East­ern Ghouta sce­nario

Tehran Times - - ANALYSIS - By Mariam Al­hi­jab

On April 7, two U.S. Navy bat­tle ships USS Porter (DDG-78) and USS Ross launched 59 Tom­a­hawk cruise mis­siles at al-Shayrat mil­i­tary air­field in Syria’s Homs prov­ince from the East­ern Mediter­ranean. The U.S. strikes par­tic­u­larly tar­geted the main land­ing strip, air­craft, ra­dio lo­ca­tors, air de­fense sys­tem and fuel sta­tions.

The strike was ap­proved by U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, who said that the Syr­ian Air Force used af­fil­i­ated al-Shayrat air base to pre­pare chem­i­cal at­tack on the city of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib. “It is in this vi­tal na­tional se­cu­rity in­ter­est of the United States to pre­vent and de­ter the spread and use of deadly chem­i­cal weapons”, Trump said.

Pre­vi­ously on April 4, sev­eral Euro­pean states ac­cused Syr­ian Air Force of us­ing war­fare poi­sonous agents while strik­ing Khan Shaykhun. Syr­ian gov­ern­ment, in its turn, re­futed these ac­cu­sa­tions, stat­ing that the tar­get of the strike was the mil­i­tant’s po­si­tion where they or­ga­nized a chem­i­cal de­pot. The strike led to the spread of war­fare poi­sonous agents and dozens of ca­su­al­ties among civil­ians.

Though the sit­u­a­tion in Khan Shaykhun is still un­clear, the U.S., France and Great Bri­tain have al­ready pre­pared and sent draft res­o­lu­tion to the U.N. In the draft they im­posed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the death of civil­ians on the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment.

The tragedy in Khan Shaykhun al­lowed Wash­ing­ton to redu­pli­cate the sce­nario de­vel­oped in 2013 for a chem­i­cal at­tack in East­ern Ghouta. Then the U.S. Pres­i­dent Barack Obama also con­sid­ered for a pos­si­ble mil­i­tary strike on Syria in or­der to pre­vent the use of chem­i­cal weapons in fu­ture.

How­ever, in 2013 there were some rea­sons in­ter­rupted the U.S. to ini­ti­ate large-scale ag­gres­sion against Syria. Just af­ter be­ing pub­lished the ma­te­ri­als about the use of chem­i­cal weapons be­gan to ac­quire ad­di­tional de­tails, which in­di­rectly in­di­cated the in­volve­ment of the U.S. and their al­lied groups in the imitation of the chem­i­cal at­tack.

It turned out that this provoca­tive act has been pre­lim­i­nary and care­fully planned by the mil­i­tary ex­perts. This is ev­i­denced by hacked cor­re­spon­dence of U.S. Army Colonel An­thony Jamie MacDon­ald, who was gen­eral staff di­rec­tor, oper­a­tions and plans of­fice of the deputy chief of staff for in­tel­li­gence the army staff in 2013. On Au­gust 22, the day af­ter the chem­i­cal at­tack, MacDon­ald re­ceived a mes­sage from his col­league Eu­gene Furst with con­grat­u­la­tions on the “suc­cess­ful op­er­a­tion” and a link ref­er­ence to an ar­ti­cle on East­ern Ghouta in The Wash­ing­ton Post.

The me­dia leak of MacDon­ald’s cor­re­spon­dence has be­come an­other ev­i­dence prov­ing that the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment has no rel­e­vance to the use of chem­i­cal weapons in East­ern Ghouta.

Ear­lier Damascus has al­ready been blamed for us­ing poi­sonous sub­stance, but all these at­tempts have failed. In the same 2013, the UN in­ves­ti­ga­tion proved that the mil­i­tants were re­spon­si­ble for the use of sarin. It was stated by Carla Del Ponte, the head of the UN com­mis­sion. Sub­se­quently it turned out that the chem­i­cal am­mu­ni­tion avail­abil­ity among op­po­si­tion groups was recorded on video.

More­over, the Amer­i­can an­a­lysts also pointed out to the doubt­ful na­ture of the in­for­ma­tion prov­ing the in­volve­ment of Damascus in chem­i­cal at­tacks. In an open mes­sage to Barack Obama for­mer CIA of­fi­cers blamed CIA di­rec­tor Ge­orge Ben­nett for pro­vid­ing un­re­li­able in­for­ma­tion to the U.S. au­thor­i­ties re­gard­ing to the in­ci­dent hap­pened in East­ern Ghouta and prepa­ra­tion of provo­ca­tion aimed at mem­bers of the U.S. Congress, the me­dia and the pub­lic.

Fi­nally, un­der the pres­sure of the world com­mu­nity Wash­ing­ton had to join the Rus­sian ini­tia­tive to elim­i­nate chem­i­cal war­fare agenda in Syria. This op­er­a­tion held un­der the su­per­vi­sion of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion for the Pro­hi­bi­tion of Chem­i­cal Weapons (OPCW) and suc­cess­fully com­pleted in Jan­uary 2015.

As in the case of East­ern Ghouta, west­ern me­dia have been bi­ased to­wards the in­ci­dent in Khan Shaykhun, ac­cus­ing the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment for the death of civil­ians even without pre­lim­i­nary re­sults of in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Fur­ther­more, not to bur­den read­ers with un­nec­es­sary doubts, the Daily Mail re­moved from its web­site an ar­ti­cle about the U.S. plants to stage chem­i­cal at­tack in 2013.

Against this back­ground, the Wash­ing­ton’s de­ci­sion to fall back upon sce­nario in East­ern Ghouta raises many ques­tions. First, it con­tra­dicts Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion cam­paign, when he had promised to stop ac­tions di­rected against Bashar As­sad and fo­cused on fight­ing ter­ror­ism. Sec­ond, ac­cu­sa­tion of Damascus in the use of chem­i­cal weapons con­tra­dicts the state­ment of OPCW about the suc­cess­ful con­clu­sion of its dis­rup­tion pro­gram, where the U.S. also have taken part. Third, it is un­clear what the White House wants to achieve by es­ca­lat­ing con­flict in Syria.

Al­legedly, the chem­i­cal at­tack in Idlib is an­other provo­ca­tion of the U.S., which is try­ing to jus­tify the ne­ces­sity of mil­i­tary in­ter­ven­tion in Syria. It seems that the Amer­i­can ad­min­is­tra­tion by pay­ing for the rat­ings with the blood of in­no­cent Syr­i­ans tries to strengthen its in­ter­nal po­lit­i­cal po­si­tions.

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