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On March 30, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that the future leader of Syria should be determined by the people of Syria.
This major policy statement by the US took regime change off the table, and was obviously great news for Bashar al-Assad. Combined with Syrian military gains on the ground, Assad was in the strongest position he'd been in since the war in Syria began.
So, why 5 days later would he gas his own people?
But even without a thorough investigation, and less than 72 hours after the alleged chemical attack took place, American political leaders and establishment media claimed that Assad carried out the attack on April 4. Hours later, the US launched 59 tomahawk cruise missiles on a Syrian airfield based on these unproven allegations, killing 9 civilians including 4 children in Idlib province.
Common sense, historical facts and circumstantial evidence suggest that it's highly unlikely that Assad gassed his own people earlier this week. In fact, it's much more likely that the chemical weapons were from al-Qaeda, ISIS and/or other anti-Assad factions. Indeed, a case can be made that the attack was coordinated by the White Helmets, with US neoconservatives providing the script.
In 2013, US-supported, anti-Assad forces were losing ground in the war in Syria. Assad claimed that the rebels were using chemical weapons in Aleppo in a last-ditch effort to hold territory. Assad asked the UN to investigate his claims, and they agreed, and began an investigation in Syria. Within days of the UN inspectors' arrival, another chemical weapon attack occurred in Syria. Western media was quick to blame Assad, even though it defied logic that Assad would use chemical weapons when chemical weapons inspectors were inside Syria at his invitation.
As conservative columnist Pat Buchanan said, "I would not understand or comprehend that Bashar al-Assad, no matter how bad a man he may be, would be so stupid as to order a chemical weapons attack on civilians in his own country when the immediate consequence...might be that he would be at war with the United States. So this reeks of a false flag operation."
Former member of congress Ron Paul pointed out , "the group that is most likely to benefit from a chemical attack is Al-Qaeda. They ignite some gas, some people die and blame it on Assad."
And Russian President Vladimir Putin said , "There is every reason to believe sarin gas was used, not by the Syrian army, but by opposition forces to provoke intervention by their powerful foreign patrons, who would be siding with the fundamentalists."
Nonetheless, the Obama administration and other western leaders blamed Assad, and talk of US military action in Syria was contemplated.
Fortunately, journalists like Seymour Hersh helped put a halt to war talk, by revealing that it was indeed the US-supported rebels who used chemical weapons - weapons they received from Turkey, a US ally.
The sarin gas attack that just occurred in Syria is eerily similar to the attack that occurred in 2013: US-backed anti-Assad rebels are losing ground, a sarin gas attack occurs and US politicians quickly blame Assad without an investigation. One difference between today and 2013 is that the US military actually bombed a Syrian military target in "retaliation." Another difference is that this time, Russian military is in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government, so the risk of military confrontation with Russia is real.
The US announcement on March 30 that it would notseek regime change in Syria was a massive blow to neoconservatives, liberal interventionists, ISIS, al-Qaeda and all other anti-Assad factions who have been trying to oust Assad for years. In 2016 alone, the CIA reportedly spent $1 billion supplying and training the rebel forces attempting to overthrow the Syrian government.
The Assad opposition is willing to revert to any means necessary, as history showed in 2013, so it's conceivable that this week's chemical attack was perpetrated by one of those factions who saw the window of opportunity to oust Assad closing.
And the US has a long history of making false claims to go to war, such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident, and the Iraq WMD claims -- both of which led to major wars.