Geopolitics

Sarin attack in Syria – who’s the culprit?
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 12 Apr , 2017

As some 59-60 Tomahawk cruise missile fired from USS Porter and USS Ross in the Mediterranean on night of April 6 struck the Shayrat air base, southeast of Homs in Syria, nine Syrian air force jets were hit, one air defence site partially destroyed and six personnel killed. Not very inspiring in present era technology of pinpoint accuracy, that 60 cruise missiles could do only that much damage.

Russian officials say Assad attacked an ISIS weapons depot, which had chemical weapons in it, which the US does not accept.

But then remember the first time US fired three cruise missiles to kill Osama bin Laden and none hit him, with Osama switching off his satellite phone last moment. Of course two fell in Pakistan without exploding and Pakistan promptly summoned aunty from Beijing who quickly transported the duds home for reverse engineering, and lo and behold within the year China had its ‘indigenous’ cruise missile.

Quite a quirk of fate with accusations that Putin helped Trump getting elected by manipulating the US presidential elections through cyber attacks,  now Trump’s does a complete turnaround against Russian interests in Syria.

There is no denying that the Sarin gas attack on April 4 at Khan Sheikhun happened in Syria’s Idlib Province about 100 kms from the Turkish border, was a deadly war crime. Some 86 people including 27 children were killed in the ghastly attack. The Turkish government, close ally of Syrian rebels, set up a decontamination centre at a border crossing in Hatay Province, where the victims were treated initially.

According to the WHO and Doctors Without Borders, victims showed signs of nerve gas exposure, including suffocation, foaming at the mouth, convulsions, constricted pupils and involuntary defecation. Pictures of the hapless victims flooded global media, even as Nikki Haley, US Ambassador to UN, waved these at the UNSC emergency meeting saying, “Assad, Russia and Iran have no interest in peace. The illegitimate Syrian Government, led by a man with no conscience, has committed untold atrocities against his people.”

…Syria had agreed for all the its undeclared stock of chemical weapons to be destroyed by the OPCW under the UN on US insistence. So now the question is where did the Syrian Government obtain the chemical weapon for this attack?

The Syrian Government has denied it executed this gas attack. It may be recalled that post the 2013 Sarin Gas attack in Syria (where again blame-game continued from either sides) that killed hundreds), Syria had agreed for all the its undeclared stock of chemical weapons to be destroyed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) under the UN on US insistence. So now the question is where did the Syrian Government obtain the chemical weapon for this attack? Was the UN-US action of destroying chemical weapons of Syria in 2013-14 incomplete?

In June 2014, the OPCW had declared it had removed the last of the Syrian government’s chemical weapons. When the 2013 Sarin attack in Syria reportedly killed 1,429 (figures by US intelligence), why would Syria use a weapon of this scale now? More importantly, what would Syria gain by using it at this point of time?

Immediately post the Tomahawk strikes on night of April 6, private telegram channels of Ahrar Al-Sham (Al Qaeda) and ISIS went berserk praising the US strikes. It may be recalled that on question of who was responsible for the 2013 Sarin attack, John Kerry had told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee establishing this is outside the UN mandate but US had proof that Syrian regime was responsible. However, Putin repudiated the charge and Russia’s  Federal Security Service (FSB) released a report that ‘Britain Defence’, one of the largest private mercenary forces in the world, was the target of a “massive hack” of its computer files by an “unknown state sponsored entity” who then released a number of critical emails between its top two executives, founder Philip Doughty and his Business Development Director David Goulding disclosing that the Obama regime had approved a “false flag” attack in Syria using chemical weapons, and that Britain has been approved to participate in the West’s war on Iran.

One e-mail from Goulding reads, “Phil, We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by Washington. We’ll have to deliver a CW (chemical weapon) to Homs (Syria), a Soviet origin g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have. They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous.”

The timing of the April 4 Sarin attack could also be possibly linked to Xi Jinping’s summit with Trump.

Could there be similar subterfuge as above in the recent gas attack? It is difficult to establish in the ongoing hybrid war. Syrian air force may have bombed a rebel chemical stockpile or the Al Qaeda-ISIS may have staged the event independently or behest of some power, given their disregard to human life. On the other hand, alarmed at the pre-election indications by Trump of possible US-Russia rapprochement, was this attack orchestrated by America’s ‘deep state’ to ensure US-Russia rapprochement doesn’t  happen? Republican Tulsi Gabbard has told CNN, “Yes, I’m skeptical” of claim Assad regime is behind chemical weapons attack.

Russian officials say Assad attacked an ISIS weapons depot, which had chemical weapons in it, which the US does not accept.

But who brought up the ISIS? One may recall Patrick Cockburn’s article ‘How Saudi Arabia helped ISIS take over the north of the country’ published in The Independent in October 2014. More significantly, a leaked 2004 classified US document titled ‘Mapping the Global Future’ exposes the ‘Caliph Project 2020’ – that was enacted through Baghdadi, even as Baghdadi is being hunted today by the US (http://www.futurebrief.com/project2020.pdf). The Syrian regime has been accused at least on three occasions during 2014 and 2015 for chlorine attacks, but there was no direct retaliation by the US, so why now.  Was General Michael Flynn eased out because he had publicly admitted to Obama’s role in the rise of ISIS?

The timing of the April 4 Sarin attack could also be possibly linked to Xi Jinping’s summit with Trump. Noticeably, Jinping appeared subdued having been caught off guard by the US strikes. China cautiously condemned the Sarin attack saying it supports independent investigation under the UN. But the message indirectly would have gone home to China that its long lifelines (OBOR, CPEC, MST) can be similarly jiggered up anytime in the future, should Beijing get too uppity. After all the hundreds of Uighurs fighting alongside ISIS in Syria and ISIS warnings that “rivers of blood will flow in China” are not without reason. Interestingly, post the Tomahawk strikes, Trump called Merkel to discuss Ukraine.

An article titled ‘Pak army using chemical weapons against Pashtuns’ published in the Sunday Guardian of January 15, 2017 reports that in addition to Balochis, Pakistan is also using chemical weapons indiscriminately against Pashtuns in Waziristan…

So are we looking at increased conflict in Syria and Ukraine (China would simply love that) with NATO indication for some time they are going to war, and John Pilger scripting his article titled ‘In Ukraine the US is Dragging us Towards War with Russia’ published in The Guardian on May 14, 2014?

Reports that a Russian warship is heading to the Mediterranean should expand the game of shadows. Will the unfinished agenda of the US be resumed? General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO stating in 2007 that while bombing of Afghanistan had commenced preceding the US invasion, US had already “decided to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran.” Obama’s plans to bomb Syria went awry because the US Senate did not approve it anyway.

What is in store in the future and who executed the Sarin attack on April 4 can be conjectured by readers. However, the Trump administration also needs to stop differentiating between ‘good’ or ‘bad’ war crimes. Why is Pakistan being given long rope for the genocide in Balochistan against their ‘own people’? Why is are the disclosures of August 2016 by Naela Quadri Baloch, President of World Baloch Women’s Forum that  Pakistan used chemical weapons against Balochis in Makran, and Pakistani army is plucking out human organs like eyes, liver, kidneys and hearts from abducted Baloch kids and youth for illicit organ trade?

An article titled ‘Pak army using chemical weapons against Pashtuns’ published in the Sunday Guardian of January 15, 2017 reports that in addition to Balochis, Pakistan is also using chemical weapons indiscriminately against Pashtuns in Waziristan and certain areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK).   This report also has photographs of victims of chemical attacks. So if Syria is ‘punished’ for ‘untold atrocities against their own people’, what about Pakistan? In addition, numerous ghastly terror attacks In Afghanistan engineered periodically by Pakistani proxies-cum-regulars  have been termed “war crime” by Tadamichi Yamamoto, Head of UNAMA. Today, much of the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and ISIS / ISK are congregated on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line, whose locations would be known to the CIA. So how about taking acting against Pakistan for its war crimes, and also targeting these radical bases?

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Sarin attack in Syria – who’s the culprit?, 5.0 out of 5 based on 8 ratings
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

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One thought on “Sarin attack in Syria – who’s the culprit?

  1. Lt Gen Saab, this is one the best articles I have read on IDR. The contents in this article have been so thoroughly researched, analysed, deduced and concluded, it is perfect. Well articulated facts and amazing thought process of drawing conclusions!! I liked the way how this article has revealed both the players in light and in shadows playing dangerous games in the most unstable region on Earth.

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