Russia warns of 'chemical provocation' in Syria by US

The Russian Ministry of Defense is warning that the UK and US are planning a "false flag" chemical attack which would be used as an excuse to bomb the Syrian military.

The MoD statement came in response to a warning from national security advisorJohn Bolton who was in Jerusalem at the time. 

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday during a visit to Jerusalem, John Bolton said: "We now see plans for the Syrian regime to resume offensive military activities in Idlib province.

"We are obviously concerned about the possibility that Assad may use chemical weapons again.

"Just so there's no confusion here, if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time," he added. 

The Russian warning was quite specific:

A provocation with an alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, which terrorists are plotting to stage with the assistance of UK special services, will serve as a pretext for missile strikes by the West and the United States against the Arab country, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday.

According to the Russian general, the provocation will be staged by terrorists of the Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham terrorist organization (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra outlawed in Russia) and for this purpose eight containers with chlorine have been brought to the Idlib province.

"Always be specific when you lie" is a good rule to follow in international affairs. In this case, the Russians have the routine down cold:

Sensing that Washington could be preparing another round of attacks, the Russian MoD pointed out that "the US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago while a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar," according to TASS

We've had similar deployments for years. The US has maintained the capability to strike at any time so there is absolutely nothing new here. 

As for the notion of a "false flag" operation to give the US and UK an excuse to hit the Syrian military, it's not out of the realm of the possible, but highly unlikely. Simply put, we have no reason to hit the Syrian military. Israel has been taking care of that for the last several months and have cowed President Assad into slowing down the build up of Iranian assets in Syria. 

Previous chemical attacks that have been investigated by the UN on site (not all have) point the finger of blame squarely at Assad. But some attacks could be attributed to terrorists who got their hands on some chemical weapons years ago. 

Russia's fears about a US-UK operation are probably unfounded, but we shouldn't put it past the rebels to try and stage their own little drama. In fact, Assad has very little reason to use WMD. He's winning and winning big. The rebel holdouts in Ibid province are weak and poorly supplied. They should be dispatched with little trouble by the combination of Russian air power and the joint Syrian/Hezb'allah ground forces.

If there is a chemical attack on rebels, Trump should demand proof before committing US forces to another strike on Syria.

 

The Russian Ministry of Defense is warning that the UK and US are planning a "false flag" chemical attack which would be used as an excuse to bomb the Syrian military.

The MoD statement came in response to a warning from national security advisorJohn Bolton who was in Jerusalem at the time. 

Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday during a visit to Jerusalem, John Bolton said: "We now see plans for the Syrian regime to resume offensive military activities in Idlib province.

"We are obviously concerned about the possibility that Assad may use chemical weapons again.

"Just so there's no confusion here, if the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons we will respond very strongly and they really ought to think about this a long time," he added. 

The Russian warning was quite specific:

A provocation with an alleged chemical weapons use in Syria, which terrorists are plotting to stage with the assistance of UK special services, will serve as a pretext for missile strikes by the West and the United States against the Arab country, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday.

According to the Russian general, the provocation will be staged by terrorists of the Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham terrorist organization (formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra outlawed in Russia) and for this purpose eight containers with chlorine have been brought to the Idlib province.

"Always be specific when you lie" is a good rule to follow in international affairs. In this case, the Russians have the routine down cold:

Sensing that Washington could be preparing another round of attacks, the Russian MoD pointed out that "the US Navy’s destroyer Sullivans with 56 cruise missiles on its board arrived in the Persian Gulf several days ago while a B-1B strategic bomber of the US Air Force armed with AGM-158 JASSM air-to-surface missiles was redeployed to the Al Udeid air base in Qatar," according to TASS

We've had similar deployments for years. The US has maintained the capability to strike at any time so there is absolutely nothing new here. 

As for the notion of a "false flag" operation to give the US and UK an excuse to hit the Syrian military, it's not out of the realm of the possible, but highly unlikely. Simply put, we have no reason to hit the Syrian military. Israel has been taking care of that for the last several months and have cowed President Assad into slowing down the build up of Iranian assets in Syria. 

Previous chemical attacks that have been investigated by the UN on site (not all have) point the finger of blame squarely at Assad. But some attacks could be attributed to terrorists who got their hands on some chemical weapons years ago. 

Russia's fears about a US-UK operation are probably unfounded, but we shouldn't put it past the rebels to try and stage their own little drama. In fact, Assad has very little reason to use WMD. He's winning and winning big. The rebel holdouts in Ibid province are weak and poorly supplied. They should be dispatched with little trouble by the combination of Russian air power and the joint Syrian/Hezb'allah ground forces.

If there is a chemical attack on rebels, Trump should demand proof before committing US forces to another strike on Syria.