US: No Syria chemical weapons used
Despite Israel's contention that chemical weapons have been used by President Assad's forces in the Syrian civil war, the US is still insisting that no WMD has been used in the conflict.
The Obama administration shares the suspicions of several of its allies that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons, a senior official said Wednesday, but it lacks the conclusive evidence that President Obama has said would lead to American intervention.
Faced with mounting pressure to act against Syria -- including a new assertion by an Israeli military intelligence official on Tuesday that Syria repeatedly used chemical weapons -- the United States is waiting for the results of an exhaustive analysis of soil, hair and other material to determine whether chemical warfare agents have been used.
Even if that investigation proves the use of chemicals, this official said, the White House must determine who used them and whether they were used deliberately or accidentally. He did not offer a timetable for that process.
"It is precisely because this is a red line that we have to establish with airtight certainty that this happened," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity so he could discuss internal deliberations. "The bar on the United States is higher than on anyone else, both because of our capabilities and because of our history in Iraq."
How are chemical weapons used "accidentally?" Oh well, whatever works.
Our "history in Iraq" refers to the contention prior to the invasion that Saddam had WMD stockpiles. But no such doubt exists in Syria. We know they have them and given several incidents in recent weeks, most of the rest of the world is convinced that Syria has used them. Since there is no evidence whatsoever that the rebels have been able to acquire chemcial weapons - or have the capability of making them - we can be rest assured that the side that has used them is Assad's army.
Assad has actually been wooing the US to intervene on his side due to the growing jihadist presence in the Syrian opposition. But Obama actually sees this as a positive given his support for the Muslim Brotherhood. No doubt the president would dearly love to avoid having to go in to Syria. But his promise to intervene in the event that Assad used chemical weapons will probably come back to haunt him in the near future.