- Posted August 29, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Are chemical weapons a ‘red line’?
Suspicion's Still Loom on Syria's Chemical Attacks
Edited September 1, 2013 9:45 EDT
MIAMI – Obama’s “thin red line” was crossed on August 21, 2013 when an unknown delivery system carrying nerve gas detonated in Ghouta, a suburban area of Damascus. There is no doubt that chemical weapons were used against a civilian population but questions and suspicions have not gotten the attention they deserve.
Al Arabyia initially broke the story and almost instantly put the blame on the Assad regime, within minutes more mainstream sources picked up the news. But Al Arabyia is not exactly an unbiased outlet. It’s often heavily criticized for having a “pro-Suadi” agenda, stemming from its majority owners , the Saudi based Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC) with investment from the Saudi Royal Family.
The Saudi’s role in Syria is far from neutral, they are the leading financiers of the effort to remove Assad and have been funneling millions into rebel groups, meaning any inflammatory allegation’s from these outlets should be viewed with skepticism in the same way as a story from FOX news regarding taxation.
What’s more interesting is the location and timing of the attacks. Leading up to the event, government forces had gained major victories in a series of offensives since the start of the summer and the region of Ghouta, according to Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari, had been re-secured from rebels since May and not a major site of activity.
Assad himself has insisted that Syrian forces were in the immediate area and the chemical strikes would have threatened friendly targets. This information is coupled with the suspicious timing.
Only 2 days prior had UN weapons inspectors arrived, allowed by the government itself, to more closely inspect competing allegations of chemical uses in Khan al-Assal on March 19th and in 2 other undisclosed sites.
Carla del Ponte, a member of the UN Commission on Syria, stated that after independent accounts and investigations the council was led to believe that the offensive use of chemical weapons in March was committed by rebel groups not government forces.
This is not as far-fetched as some would lead you to believe, the Syrian government has during raids on rebel depots and strongholds claimed to have found chemical weapons, most recently in the tunnels of Jobar, another suburb of Damascus and the UN Council on Syria has contended that both sides possess such weapons and capabilities.
This begs the question of why Assad after gaining the upper hand and the eyes and ears of the world upon him resort to using chemical weapons when there is so little to be gained and so much to be lost. The rebels on the other hand possess more motivation by essentially killing two birds with one stone. They disrupt government and rival forces while gaining a trump card, the attention of the United States.