Evidence suggests Obama administration knew Syria cheated on WMD deal
There has been confirmation from UN investigators that the gas used to kill dozens of Syrian civilians in Idib province last week was sarin - a weapon that President Obama and his administration assured us did not exist in Syria's arsenal following the deal with the Russians that supposedly removed "100%" of Syria's chemical stockpiles.
Was the naive Obama fooled by President Putin and Bashar Assad? Or was the Obama administration fully aware that their boasts that claimed Syria had no chemical weapons a lie?
Evidence suggests it was the latter. Sean Keeley of The American Interest quotes National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster when the Trump aide spoke to reporters following the US strike:
And the one thing that I will tell you though, there was an effort to minimize – to minimize risk to third-country nationals at that airport – I think you read Russians from that – but that – and we took great pains to try to avoid that. […] And then there were also measures put in place to avoid hitting what we believe is a storage of sarin gas, so that that would not be ignited and cause a hazard to civilians or anyone else.
Keeley points out the obvious and cites other evidence of the Obama administration's knowledge that their empty boasts about getting rid of Assad's chemical weapons was false:
If this strike was arranged to avoid hitting sarin storage facilities, the question arises: did the Obama Administration know that such depots still existed after its “historic” deal that supposedly removed all Syria’s chemical weapons?
The signs point to yes. In Congressional testimony last February, Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper acknowledged “gaps and inconsistencies in Syria’s declaration,” validating reports that Syria was still hiding banned chemicals at undisclosed locations. And on its way out the door in January of this year, the Obama Treasury quietly introduced new sanctions against Syrian officials involved in chemical warfare. Buried in the language sanctioning a particular official was a telling admission: “As of 2016, Abbas has continued operating at locations in Syria associated with chemical warfare-related missions.”
Whether or not the Obama Administration knew of this particular sarin facility, then, they clearly knew that Syrians were still clinging to their stockpiles at several locations. They knew what Adam Garfinkle has been saying all along: that Obama’s deal to remove chemical weapons was not a historic diplomatic triumph but an unenforcable sham that the Syrians and Russians never intended to comply with.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration looked the American people in the eye and lied:
Former Secretary of State John Kerry stated in 2014 that the Obama administration “got 100 percent of the declared chemical weapons out of Syria.” Former National Security Adviser Susan Rice commented in January that the president and his team were “able to get the Syrian government to voluntarily and verifiably give up its chemical weapons stockpile.”
At the time, fact-checking site Poltifact reported that the administration’s comments were “mostly true;” however, the site has since re-evaluated its assessment. “Either Syria never fulling complied with its 2013 promise to reveal all of its chemical weapons; or it did, but then converted otherwise non-lethal chemicals to military uses.”
Politifact cites converting "non-lethal chemicals" into weapons. That may have been true with chlorine gas, that President Assad employed several times over the last 3 years. But there are no dual uses for sarin gas, which has been banned by several chemical weapons treatires.
This particular aspect of the Obama administration is not being highlighted by anyone outside of conservative media. The media just doesn't seem interested in the fact that the former president used his "triumph" of "soft power" to remove Assad's chemical stockpiles as a demonstration of his superior wisdom while it actually revealed him to be a naive fool.