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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 9/19/13

What "Sanctions" Will Happen if the Rebels Are Shown To Have Used Sarin Gas?

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President Obama still wants his war in Syria. To get him what he wants, the language in the agreement signed by the US and Russia over chemical weapons in Syria is sown with vague terms having multiple and contradictory definitions and nearly un-meetable conditions, all presented in a framework of blatant lies.

The language in the framework agreement says the Syrians must hand over not just their chemical weapons, but all "delivery systems" for such weapons. Is this a reasonable condition in an era when virtually every artillery piece from mortars on up can be loaded with chemical weapons? Is the Syrian army supposed to strip itself down to rifles and small arms to somehow prove a negative -- something they will no more be able to do than Saddam Hussein could?

Most glaringly of all, there are pockets of Syria under control of the so-called rebels, many of them mercenary jihadists, armed, supplied and financed by the US, the Saudis, the Turks and the Israelis. Syria's rebels are widely believed to possess their own stocks of chemical weapons, and since they are losing the war, they have an urgent need to provoke the US into heavier involvement to rescue them from defeat by the Syrian regime. The rebels have not signed this agreement, or even been asked to.

Who will inspect the rebel zones and what, if any, sanctions will be applied if they do not surrender any chemical weapons in their possession? While the US says its clients are only the victims of chemical weapons, not their users, its evidence remains classified, with even US intelligence officials admitting that it's "no slam dunk."

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The Russians on the other hand claim the Syrian rebels used sarin gas against civilians back in March 2013, apparently trying to provoke US intervention. Russia submitted a 100 page report, far more detailed than the sketchy American allegations, detailing their findings back in July, and asked the UN to follow up. By the time poison gas was used again in late August, UN inspection teams were already in Damascus awaiting the arrival of their supervisors so that inspections of the areas where gas was used months earlier, allegedly by the rebels, could begin. This is why much of the world believes the Assad regime is quite unlikely to have used chemical weapons, with UN inspections teams only a few miles away.

As for weaving a context of lies to justify an eventual war, vice president Joe Biden repeated just yesterday the ridiculous claim that Syria had the largest stock of chemical weapons in the world. Amazingly no major US media corrected him, and US media reports falsely claim that UN findings implicate the Syrian government. There's a global treaty for the abolition of chemical weapons, under which the US is obliged to destroy its own chemical weapons. But the Pentagon says this will take 10 years, despite the existence of mobile units which are supposed to the job in Syria in a mere six months. Maybe after the mobile units finish up in Syria, the UN can send them here. We should hold our breaths till that happens.

The danger of war is not yet averted, and the agreement as it exists may yet give President Obama the excuse he needs to drop his bombs.

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Bruce Dixon is the managing editor for Black Agenda Report.
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