Outrages and suspicious coincidencesApril 6, 2017
At least 70 people have been killed in northern Syria after being exposed to toxic gasses and the civilized world is shocked and calls for punishment of the perpetrator, which is clearly and easily made out as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the (after Putin) most despised person in Western media.
Take this from an unwavering, unshakable, and unrepenting Bashar al-Assad apologist:
There’s the principle of presumption of innocence. And there are momentous coincidences, lucky coincidences, defining moments. Just when two military offensives by Al-Qaeda affiliate Tahrir al-Sham (former Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, Jabhat al-Nusra) with the help of their TOS-approved (moderate) Islamist minions got stuck and the Syrian army is winning on nearly every front, a brutal nerve gas attack by butcher Assad’s air force obligates the worlds policeman to act and remove the criminal tyrant from power.
Historians once may write, that it was a pretext for war based on false evidence, or a false flag attack, just like the explosion of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor, or the USS Maddox (Gulf of Tonkin) incident, or the Kuwait incubator babies, or Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, or Muammar Gaddafis mass rapes.
Maybe there will be no historians and nobody left to read such a text. Russia, outspent militarily nine times by the USA, has still operational nuclear weapons. The USA can destroy Russia four times over, while Russia can destroy the USA only once. Once though is enough in this case.
US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley accused Russia of covering up for Damascus.
“Time and time again Russia uses the same false narrative to deflect attention from their ally in Damascus,” she said during a heated UN Security Council debate in New York, and hinting at possible unilateral action by the US, she added: “When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”
US President Donald Trump said he considers the use of chemical weapons “beyond a red line” that “would not be tolerated.” Trump put the blame for the chemical attack squarely at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and said his previous attitude toward the Syrian government — presented essentially as a hands-off approach — has “changed very much” in the last 24 hours.
“I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me,” Trump said.
In the already mentioned heated UN Security Council debate, Russia’s deputy UN envoy Vladimir Safronkov stressed, that both the Russia and Syria reject the narrative emerging in western media and that the source of a deadly chemical cloud was an ammunition depot operated by Islamist forces which had been hit in a Syrian air raid.
Russia called for an unbiased and transparent investigation, but such an investigation will not happen, because the location of the gas poisoning, the village Khan Sheikhun in Idlib, is Tahrir al-Sham territory and no independent investigator will dare to visit it.
Even if the UN should be involved, the investigation would not be impartial and objective, as Jordanian Prince Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is well known for his Islamist sympathies.
From a broader view, common sense and logic speak against a nerve gas attack by Syria. What would be the benefit of using chemical weapons? Khan Sheikhun isn’t a critical military target, US President Trump has declared his intention to abandon the longtime US policy of regime change, and the Syrian government is more secure than it has been in years. The reckless use of WMD’s (weapons of mass destruction) is the only thing that could change the momentum and jeopardize a Syrian victory.
Who would gain from an apparent WMD attack by the Syrian army? Short answer: The Islamic insurgents, Turkey (Erdogan just announced another offensive into Syria), the Gulf potentates, Israel (the Israeli cabinet just held a discussion about increasing involvement in the war, while Israeli jets bombed Deraa), the USA (because Russia’s position would be weakened).
A satellite picture of the compound which was hit and is said to be the chemical storage site shows what appears to be a trench. This alone would make it a logical target of an attack.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said, that the bombed warehouse was used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas. The same chemical munitions were used by militants in Aleppo, where Russian military experts took samples in late 2016. Khan Sheikhun civilians apparently displayed identical symptoms to those of Aleppo chemical attack victims.
Islamic insurgents in 2013 used Sarin at Khan al Assal in Aleppo province, killing 16 Syrian soldiers. The Syrian army later captured sarin shells from insurgents and nerve gas precursors were smuggled across the Turkish border, though these reports are of course disputed by the West.
All testimonies, pictures, videos of the incident in Khan Sheikhun are from the Islamist support organization White Helmets. The White Helmets reports are as usual contradictory, first mentioning bombs from helicopters, then from planes. Videos show victims and White Helmets personal in a military hideout dug deep inside a mountain. It doesn’t look like a hospital at all. The White Helmets act unprofessional, touching and washing people without even wearing gloves, chatting and looking quite relaxed.
The crater which according to the White Helmets was left by the nerve gas bomb looks awfully small and rather like the impact of a grenade. A bomb from an airplane would have left a much bigger crater. The presented bomb fragment doesn’t match any Russian bomb used by the Syrian SU-22 jet.
The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet cites activist Hussam Salloum and presents a video clip of a white cloud spreading over the village. Sarin and chlorine are colorless.
The method of creating sarin is fairly simple (even easier than to synthesize chlorine or phosgene) if one has the precursors, though the gas degrades fast because of hydrolysis and residual acid. The creation and use of sarin shells for a falls flag attack would be possible even with limited technical equipment and experience.
The videos of dying victims are not consistent with symptoms of sarin. The people in the video which are still alive are suffocating and slowly dying, a sarin death should involve a puddle of vomit from every victim and the ones still alive would be experiencing powerful spasms and painful deaths.
A MSF medical team providing support to the emergency department of the Bab Al Hawa hospital reported that some of the victims showed symptoms of sarin, but others of chlorine, suggesting that at least two different chemical agents were involved. This would support the theory that a chemical storage site was hit.
It is entirely possible that the symptoms in the videos are the impact of organophosphates such as pesticides or fertilizers which may have been stored at the warehouse for agricultural use or for bomb making. It could also be that the symptoms are from a low but persistent concentration of gas, as it would happen if storage tanks would have been hit.
There is a report that all the victims were captives of Tahrir al-Sham, kidnapped in Majdal and Khattab during their recent Hama offensive. The high number of poisoned civilians, including many children, near a warehouse, in a place with nothing but hills and a White Helmet base makes only sense if they were inmates of a prison camp.
There is no presumption of innocence in the Western press and the war drums are beating loudly. A steady stream of pro war articles from the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, Guardian, Spiegel, and similar “reputable” outlets shapes public opinion and creates pressure on the US administration to intervene in order to “save the Syrian children”.
A new report by the Jerusalem Post claims, that Syrian helicopters dropped barrel bombs with chlorine gas in the village of Al-Lataminahin in Hama province.
As US President Trump has been experiencing lots of problems with much of his initiatives blocked, he could be enticed to start an air campaign against Syria to distract from his domestic failings. One should keep an eye on US destroyers and cruisers in the Gulf and maybe the Mediterranean Sea. Any air-led mission against the Syrian army and air force will start with their cruise missiles.
Other Bashar al-Assad apologists:
The USA has indeed fired 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles from Navy destroyers USS Porter and USS Ross in the Mediterranean Sea targeting aircraft, aircraft shelters, storage areas, ammunition supply bunkers, air defence systems, and radars at the Shayrat airfield in western Homs province. At least 5 Syrian soldiers have been killed, 16 wounded, and parts of the airbase (jet fuel and ammunition depots) are on fire.
Al Shayrat was one of the most important airbases due to its relatively safe location in the center of government controlled area. From there the air force supported the Hama and Palmira fronts. Russian choppers used to operate from there as well. If reports about 15 aircrafts destroyed are true, the Syrian air force which is already crippled by the war will definitely feel it. The airfields in Hama, Tiyas, al Seen, Mezzeh, Nayrab, Dumayr, Kalkahalh, Qusayr, Kuweires can be used alternatively.
Most SyAF fighter jets destroyed were not operational according to new reports. Vital assets may have been moved before the strikes. Newest video reports show that one runway is fine, and the cruise missiles didn’t even hit all the hardened shelters. There were two runways but only one was maintained. The missiles destroyed the one which was used daily.
The base is probably going to be repaired fairly quickly and might be ready again to be used again within one or two months.