A team of Russian experts recently submitted reports to the UN detailing how chemical weapons used in Syria were not consistent with what the armed forces use, suggesting that rebels groups were responsible for the attack. The Obama administration unwaveringly holds Bashar Assad’s forces responsible for using sarin nerve gas against civilians, and is now using these allegations to justify a military escalation of the conflict. When a crude chemical weapon containing sarin nerve gas killed 30 people after it was set off near Aleppo on March 19, the Syrian government immediately called for an investigation into the incident, prompting accusations and speculation from all sides.
President Obama immediately cast doubt over concerns that the rebels could have been behind the attack and, despite the lack of any compelling evidence, the US concluded in June that Syrian government forces were the perpetrators. The use of chemical weapons signified the crossing of Obama’s much-touted ‘red line’ by government forces, prompting Washington to announce that it would now openly supply the rebels with arms. Meanwhile, Russia made it clear that they were not convinced by Washington’s claims as prominent Russian political figures made comparisons between Obama’s unverified claims of chemical weapons in Syria and Bush’s fabricated claims of WMDs in Iraq.
Nile Bowie is a Malaysia-based political analyst and a columnist with Russia Today. He also contributes to PressTV, Global Research, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.