The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

The Chemical Weapons “false flag” trap the West and its allies have stepped into and are only now realizing

There are many traps which the US, GCC, Turkey, France, Britan, March 14 et al. have all stepped into in Syria. But this one is the least discussed and most potentially explosive: the use of chemical weapons under a “false flag” (or real flag) scenario

As one can see from the wire service headline below, the Syrian regime is still able to undertake an apparently studied, patient and determined psy-ops campaign (on occasion) that opens up possibilities for it rather than shuts them down (like the US and others have been doing for the last 16 months). And here it is:

Syria Warns Rebels May Use Chemical Weapons

The Syrian regime has now officially opened up another card for itself: either by letting it happen or actively aiding it, it could easily facilitate/allow the use of chemical weapons by one of the many al-qaeda groups in the field (and you read below about the syrian gov. claim on specific groups now having access to chemicals (perhaps + weapons)). What could its opponents do if the opposition, effectively, is the first one to use these weapons? This create a double, nay triple, bind for the US and its allies. It would help the syrians make their case MORE effectively with the Russians, help in accelerating Russian anger over the patriot missiles in Turkey, create a “more justified” pathway for the regime to then use the weapons itself, immobilize the US and its allies in the field (are we going to go to war with the regime after our worst enemy – al-qaeda – used WMDs for the first time!? I mean, think about how this looks on network TV in the US)…. and then think about Israel. WHAT THE HECK DO THEY DO in this “no good track” deal? What/Who do they bomb – everyone?

The regime – as one can see from the last 3 months of US media coverage – has benefited from the oppositions increasing transformation into another bad guy for the west.

In a chemical weapons war between two “bad guys” – as perceived by the US public etc – who do “We” support?

The regime of Bashar is clearly in an incredibly fragile position – but it may – may – just be on the cusp of starting to fight an opposition which is tarred as “bad” “also,” but this time, finally for it, with all gloves off.

Just imagine the confusion, as is likely, when we all first learn of chemical weapons use in the field? In the fog of war and propaganda, it will likely not be “clear” who “did it” – as it was clear with Saadam, although their the americans tried initially to blame Iran!”

The opposition has long blamed the regime for attacking itself with car bombs etc – and sometimes they may have been right, sometimes wrong. If the opposition knows and thinks the regime has no problem with sacrificing some of its own loyalists/citizens then what will hold them back even from using a limited chemical strike on a school, for example, in a loyalist area, killing hundreds of women and children, and having that attack blamed on jihadists? The opposition needs to follow its logic through to the end (it rarely does). There are, of course, more plausible false flag operations now open to the regime that this, but can you believe that even these scenarios are becoming plausible!

***************

Syria warned on Saturday that rebels could use chemical weapons in their fight against President Bashar Assad’s forces, and insisted that the regime will never unleash such arms on its own people.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague, however, said there was evidence the Damascus government could actually employ chemical weapons stocks in the conflict which a rights group says has killed at least 42,000 people in nearly 21 months.

“Terrorist groups may resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people… after having gained control of a toxic chlorine factory” east of Aleppo, the foreign ministry said, using the government term for rebel groups.

It added that Damascus would never use such weapons against its own people.

The ministry was believed to be referring to the Syrian-Saudi Chemicals Company (SYSACCO) factory near Safira, which was taken over earlier this week by militants from the jihadist al-Nusra Front.

Syria “is defending its people against terrorism, which is supported by known countries, with the United States at the forefront,” the ministry said.

Global concerns over Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles grew after U.S. officials this week privately said the regime had begun mixing precursor chemicals that could be used for the lethal nerve agent sarin.

Some media reports said that the substance had been loaded into bombs for warplanes.

Hague said on Saturday there was evidence Syrian government forces could use chemical weapons against the insurgency.

“We are extremely concerned about the stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and we are also concerned about evidence during the last couple of weeks that the regime could use them,” he told reporters in Manama on the sidelines of a security conference.

Hague said Britain had joined the United States in delivering a strong message to Assad’s government and that the global community had “contingency plans concerning chemical weapons but will not disclose them.”

He cited several “dangerous scenarios,” including their “use by the regime” or falling into the hands “of other people.”

Washington has said the use of chemical weapons would be a red line but that it fears rebel battlefield advances could prompt the regime to use them, or that stocks could fall into the hands of groups hostile to the US and its allies.

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Friday said it would be an “outrageous crime” if the regime used chemical weapons against the revolt.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the global chemical weapons watchdog, asked Damascus to sign up to a convention banning their use, citing “serious concerns” that for the first time in the agreement’s history they might be used.

The opposition Syrian National Council said even neighboring countries would not be spared if such weapons were used.

“We ask the countries of the world to act before disaster hits, not after,” SNC chief George Sabras said.

“The Syrian people will neither forget nor forgive anyone who orders the use of weapons of mass destruction, or anyone who is complicit in the crime, or anyone who moves only after the crime is committed.”

Syria’s new opposition coalition, meanwhile, said it will announce the creation of a military council before a Friends of Syria meeting next week, to unify insurgent ranks.

In mid-November, opposition factions agreed to establish the National Coalition and bring together rebel forces under a supreme military council.

“The council will be exclusively responsible for receiving military aid which we obtain” from outside Syria, council Secretary General Mustafa Sabbagh told AFP.

On the ground, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported at least four fighters killed as troops battling rebels near Damascus bombarded opposition strongholds in the south of the city and on its northeastern outskirts.

For several days, the army has pounded rebel strongholds on the capital’s outskirts, raising fears of a looming ground assault.

Thirty-one of the 72 people killed nationwide on Friday died in the Damascus region, said the Britain-based Observatory, which relies on a countrywide network of activists and medics when compiling its tolls.

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Written by nickbiddlenoe

December 9, 2012 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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