Back in 2013, the catalyst used by the US to intervene in the Syrian conflict which started in the aftermath of the Arab Spring (which according to some was inspired by CIA intervention), was a YouTube clip allegedly showing a sarin gas attack by Assad troops on his own people in the town of Ghouta, which reportedly led to hundreds of casualties. Subsequently, the video was shown to have been a hoax, but by then it was too late as the US was actively involved in the proxy war, which in the summer of 2013 nearly escalated to a naval conflict between the US and Russia. The war has since continued, although it may be finally tapering, unless of course it is "somehow" reignited.
Then, in January, Reuters reported that a still unpublished report by international investigators said President Bashar al-Assad and his brother "are responsible for the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict."
A joint inquiry for the United Nations and global watchdog the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had previously identified only military units and did not name any commanders or officials. Now a list has been produced of individuals whom the investigators have linked to a series of chlorine bomb attacks in 2014-15 - including Assad, his younger brother Maher and other high-ranking figures - indicating the decision to use toxic weapons came from the very top, according to a source familiar with the inquiry.
We suggested at the time that this was a rehearsal for another imminent "chemical attack" in Syria, meant to achieve the same goal as the 2013 (non) attack: turning popular opinion via the press, against Assad.
We didn't have long to wait, because today Reuters reported that "a suspected Syrian government chemical attack killed scores of people, including children, in the northwestern province of Idlib on Tuesday, a monitoring group, medics and rescue workers in the rebel-held area said."
Of course, having seen a US invasion over the last such "use" of chemical weapons, one would wonder why Assad - who recently turned the tide of war against the local US-backed rebels after retaking Aleppo - would do this knowing well, what the reaction would be, and sure enough the Syrian military denied responsibility and said it would never use chemical weapons; it certainly did not in the 2013 "false flag" sarin gas attack.
However, as in 2013, it was Assad's word versus that of The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a one-man, UK-funded organization whose only purpose is to stoke western sentiment against Assad, said the attack killed at least 58 people and "was believed to have been carried out by Syrian government jets. It caused many people to choke and some to foam at the mouth."
Director Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters the assessment that Syrian government warplanes were to blame was based on several factors such as the type of aircraft, including Sukhoi 22 jets, that carried out the raid.
"We deny completely the use of any chemical or toxic material in Khan Sheikhoun town today and the army has not used nor will use in any place or time neither in past or in future," the Syrian army command said in a statement.
The Russian Defence Ministry said its aircraft had not carried out the attack. The U.N. Security Council was expected to meet on Wednesday to discuss the incident.
Later in the day, a US Intel official said that the suspected poison gas attack in Syria's Idlib province has 'fingerprints' of attack by Assad regime; it was not clear what the proof was, or why Assad would seek to antagonize the entire world with a mass attack that has his "fingerprints."
Was there any actual evidence Assad was behind the attack? Well no, especially since a chemical attack is the easiest "false flag" imaginable, and comes just one week after the Trump administration said it no longer plans on removing Assad, a radical departure from the foreign policy of the Obama administration.
And yet, just like last time, the media swallowed the full story and ran with it without asking a single question if maybe this was once again an attempt to escalate the conflict by the , and on Tuesday afternoon, the Trump White House was quick to blame the chemical weapons attack in Syria's Idlib province on the government of President Bashar al-Assad and said the incident was "reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world."
However, in an attempt to score some quick political points, instead of questioning the entire attack, the administration which just one week ago said it would no longer seek to oust Assad, promptly blamed the Obama administration for the attack.
"These heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the last administration's weakness and irresolution," White House spokesman Sean Spicer told a briefing. "President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a 'red line' against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing."
Spicer declined to say what the U.S. administration would do about the attack but added President Donald Trump had spoken on Tuesday with his national security team about the issue.
An official statement by the White House released later in the day echoed Spicer, with Trump putting the blame on today's attack on Obama.
“Today’s chemical attack in Syria against innocent people, including women and children, is reprehensible and cannot be ignored by the civilized world,” Trump said in a statement, faulting his predecessor for helping create the conditions for the attack when he backed away from his 2012 “red line” on Assad’s use of chemical weapons.
Trump criticized Obama’s approach, even though he personally urged his predecessor not to intervene in the Syrian civil war on numerous occasions.
“AGAIN, TO OUR VERY FOOLISH LEADER, DO NOT ATTACK SYRIA - IF YOU DO MANY VERY BAD THINGS WILL HAPPEN & FROM THAT FIGHT THE U.S. GETS NOTHING!” he tweeted in September 2013.
“President Obama, do not attack Syria,” he tweeted days later. “There is no upside and tremendous downside. Save your 'powder' for another (and more important) day!”
Alas, Obama did not take Trump's advice, and the US has been involved in the Syria conflict ever since.
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Meanwhile, Trump did not say how the U.S. would respond to the attack. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called on Russia and Iran, both allies of Assad, to discourage him from using chemical weapons on his own people.
“We call upon Russia and Iran, yet again, to exercise their influence over the Syrian regime and to guarantee that this sort of horrific attack never happens again,” Tillerson said in a statement. “Russia and Iran also bear great moral responsibility for these deaths.”
The attack posed a sharp challenge to the Trump administration, which has said it wants to shift its focus away from the civil war and onto the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
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And so, an attack which may have killed scores of people has been quickly used for political purposes by all involved: by the rebels to further antagonize global opinion against Assad, and by Trump to slam Obama's "weakness and irresolution."
What was lost in all of today's conflicting narratives is that it was an almost identical alleged chemical attack by Assad in 2013 that got the Obama administration involved in the Syria proxy war in the first place; the motive behind today's attack is hardly any different.
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For those interested in the underlying propaganda behind the narrative, we urge you to read "Here We Go Again: YouTube Clips Of Syrian "Chemical Attacks" Are Back - Meet The Man Behind The Propaganda"