Syria: What Just Happened?

Authored by Eric Zuesse via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

What happened right after the second direct U.S.-missiles invasion of Syria, which had occurred on the night of April 13th, could turn out to have momentous implications - far bigger than the attacks themselves...

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons headlined on April 14th, in the wake of this U.S.-UK-France invasion of Syria that was allegedly punishing Syria’s Government for allegedly having used chemical weapons in its bombing in the town of Douma on April 7th, "OPCW Fact-Finding Mission Continues Deployment to Syria”, and reported that:

The Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) team of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will continue its deployment to the Syrian Arab Republic to establish facts around the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma.

The OPCW has been working in close collaboration with the United Nations Department of Safety and Security to assess the situation and ensure the safety of the team.

This means that the effort by the U.S. and its allies on the U.N. Security Council, to squash that investigation, has failed at the OPCW, even though the effort had been successful at blocking U.N. support for that specific investigation.

The OPCW is not part of the U.N., nor of any country; it, instead (as introduced by Wikipedia):

is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997. The OPCW, with its 192 member states, has its seat in The Hague, Netherlands, and oversees the global endeavour for the permanent and verifiable elimination of chemical weapons.

In conformity with the unchallenged international consensus that existed during the 1990s that there was no longer any basis for war between the world’s major powers, the Convention sought and achieved a U.N. imprimatur, but this was only in order to increase its respect throughout the world. The OPCW is based not on the U.N. Charter but on that specific treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was formally approved by the U.N.’s General Assembly on 30 November 1992 and was then opened for signatures in Paris on 13 January 1993. According to the Convention’s terms, it would enter into effect 180 days after 65 nations signed it, which turned out to be on 29 April 1997.

So, although the treaty itself received U.N. approval, the recent Russian-sponsored resolution at the U.N.’s Security Council to have the U.N. endorse the OPCW’s investigation of the 7 April 2018 Douma incident, did not receive U.N. approval. It was instead blocked by the U.S. and its allies. Nonetheless, though without a U.N. endorsement, the OPCW investigation into the incident will move forward, despite the invasion.

This fact is momentous, because a credible international inspection, by the world’s top investigatory agency for such matters, will continue to completion, notwithstanding the effort by the U.S. and its allies on the U.N. Security Council, to block it altogether. This decision was reached by the OPCW — not by the U.N.

Among the 192 signers of the Chemical Weapons Convention are U.S., Russia, and Syria, as well as China, Iran, and Iraq, but not Israel, nor North Korea and a very few other countries. So: all of the major powers have already, in advance, approved whatever the findings by the OPCW turn out to be. Those findings are expected to determine whether a chemical attack happened in Douma on 7 April 2018, and, if so, then perhaps what the specific banned chemical(s) was(were), but not necessarily who was responsible for it if it existed. For example, if the ‘rebels’ had stored some of their chemical weapons at that building and then Syria’s Government bombed that building, the OPCW might not be able to determine who is to blame, even if they do determine that there was a chemical attack and the chemical composition of it. In other words: science cannot necessarily answer all of the questions that might be legal-forensically necessary in order to determine guilt, if a crime did, in fact, occur, there.

If the investigation does find that a banned chemical was used and did cause injuries or fatalities, then there is the possibility that its findings will be consistent with the assertions by the U.S. and its allies who participated in the April 13th invasion. That would not necessarily justify the invasion, but it would prove the possibility that there had been no lying intent on the part of the U.S.-and-allied invaders on April 13th.

However, if the investigation does not find that a banned chemical was used in the Syrian Government’s bombing of that building, then incontrovertibly the U.S.-and-allied invasion was a criminal one under international laws, though there may be no international court that possesses the authority to try the case.

So: what is at stake here from the OPCW investigation is not only the international legitimacy of Syria’s Government, but the international legitimacy of the Governments that invaded it on April 13th. These are extremely high stakes, even if no court in the world will possess the authority to adjudicate the guilt — either if the U.S. and its allies lied, or if the Syrian Government lied.

For us historians, this is very important. And, for the general public, the significance goes much farther: to specific Governments, to their alleged news media, and to the question of: What does it even mean to say that a government is a “democracy” or a “dictatorship”? The findings from this investigation will reverberate far and wide, and long (if World War III doesn’t prevent any such findings at all).

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.


the phantom El Oregonian Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:45 Permalink

I would not exactly agree with the author that the OPCW is "independent" and completely on the up-and-up.  Bolton in 2003 (yep, same John Bolton of today), did not think the former head of the OPCW, Jose Bustani, was a suitable head for Washington's interest.  So, he threatens his family if he doesn't resign, gets him forced out, and gets his own people put in.  Does that strike you as very "independent"?  Yeah, me neither.…

In reply to by El Oregonian

greenskeeper carl Mr. Universe Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:56 Permalink

No, we probably won't. But, here's a little truth: these people will probably find whatever the country that gives them the most money wants them to find. Why do you think the UN never condemns the US when it does things that are blatantly illegal? THis bombing was illegal, for starters, as is what we've done in many other countries in the Middle East and Africa, but none of these people say jack shit. They want our money. This group is probably no different.

In reply to by Mr. Universe

ldd Mr. Universe Sun, 04/15/2018 - 23:08 Permalink

so they telegraph their intentions - for what purpose? to land a soft punch to allay pressure, or was it a failed attempt at a harder punch. so many players involved. the moment a positive narrative comes along it is countered and blocked. and this time is quite different to the other similar events. no definitive known facts. why? we appear to be only given a portion of the facts. lots of stuff has happened, is happening behind the scenes. where are all the hand held recordings? was this a test of sorts to probe? a distraction for cover? or a game of high stakes poker?

In reply to by Mr. Universe

FBaggins Mr. Universe Sun, 04/15/2018 - 23:11 Permalink

Why trust any of them? Anyone with a grain of common sense knows what happened.

Because of the “high stakes” we can be absolutely sure there will high level corruption and a lot of money flying around Douma, the site of the investigation, and around OPCW headquarters in the Hague, Holland. If money won’t work our illustrious Western establishment will use threats and violence. That is what they always do to get their way. That is why there is a so-called “civil” war in Syria.

Until the people unite under common principles and chose leaders whose loyalty is completely to them with absolutely none to any establishment member or elite, the wolves will continue to rule and carry on slaughtering innocent people in droves in one war of plunder after another.

In reply to by Mr. Universe

keep the basta… FBaggins Mon, 04/16/2018 - 01:43 Permalink

RT Arabic correspondents have visited one of the main targets of the US-led missile attack on Syria, the Scientific Studies and Research Center in the Barzeh district in northern Damascus. The three-story building was pelted with 57 Tomahawk missiles launched from US warships and 19 air-to-surface missiles, the Pentagon said.

The massive bombardment left it lying in ruins, with its walls and roof almost completely collapsed and lab equipment scattered around.

The morning after the strike, several media outlets, including RT, AFP, CBS News and others were given a tour to the former research facility, now little more than a pile of rubble.


Caught in a lie, US & allies bomb Syria the night before international inspectors arrive

Said Said, an engineer at the facility, told RT Arabic that the very fact that such a trip was possible should serve as an evidence that no chemical weapons program was run at the site.

"You can see for yourself that nothing has happened. I've been here since 5:00 a.m. No signs of weapons-grade chemicals," he said. The researcher said he had worked at the facility for decades, and it used to develop medicine and household chemicals.

Speaking with AFP, Said said that the center's work mainly revolved around devising antidotes to scorpion and snake venoms, as well as testing food, medicine and children's toys for safety.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had visited the site several times and never found any traces of banned chemicals. Since Syria joined the Chemical Weapons Convention under a deal brokered by Russia and the US in 2013, the UN chemical watchdog repeatedly confirmed its full compliance with its obligations to dismantle and remove its chemical stockpiles.

Announcing the strikes, US General Kenneth McKenzie said that the US military "believe that by hitting Barzeh, in particular, we've attacked the heart of the Syrian weapons program."

However, reports by the UN's chemical watchdog, the latest of which was filed just a month ago, suggest otherwise.

The report on the first inspection that was conducted between 26 February and 5 March 2017 says that "the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention," noting that Damascus had provided unimpeded access to the inspectors "to all selected areas."

The follow-up inspection, carried out in November, did not find any incriminating evidence either.

The March 2018 report reiterates: "As stated in previous reports, all of the chemicals declared by the Syrian Arab Republic that were removed from its territory in 2014 have now been destroyed.

In reply to by FBaggins

Voluntary Exchange FBaggins Mon, 04/16/2018 - 04:44 Permalink

Until the people unite under common principles and chose leaders whose loyalty is completely to them with absolutely none to any establishment member or elite,

The only way you get leaders who stay loyal is if you maintain your power over your leaders. In a vote and tax system, you have lost control because you can't withhold tax payment or sue to get your money back for breach of contract when a "leader" quickly proves corrupt. And a corrupt system is also very good at making sure that the corrupt do not need to fear the next election. Fraudulent elections, or if they do loose, very cushy golden parachutes await them. 

That means we the people have to pay for the services we want through voluntary exchange. Also the contract has to have enforcement agreements that strongly compel compliance or full restitution if a breach occurs.

If the leaders are paid through taxes then the system is already corrupt shortly after such a system is instituted - as history clearly shows. People can only maintain control if they maintain the control over the payment and the penalties associated with breach of contract. You keep the contract enforcement service separate and distinct from the service the leader does. You can't maintain that separateness under a vote and tax system.  

The society living by voluntary exchange must also refuse to use payments in currencies controlled and inflatable by governments who also demand taxes, and who keep their own slaves controlled by this same currency.

In reply to by FBaggins

lew1024 beepbop Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:55 Permalink

Stop with simple stories! Nothing happens for only one reason, no one controls everything in even the most repressive environments.

Israel has goals of destroying adjacent countries, as you say. If someone wanted to destroy Israel, what better goal could they have Israel adopt?

Same with US militarism. Read Robert Gore's Straight Line Logic today. The US's strategic position is falling fast. Members of the DBS may pay for their crimes.

The problem with negative sum games is, you can lose! Why the fuck would anyone play games you can lose when there are so many games that are positive-sum? Seduce, don't destroy.

In reply to by beepbop

Last Man Standing greenskeeper carl Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:50 Permalink

LOL, illegal! The U.N. is an organization made up of mostly, terrorists, tyrants and dictators. "International Law" is a joke and a smoke screen for nations doing what they want and claiming some nonexistent authority for doing that action. Each nation is sovereign unto itself. Their authority exists in what the people of that nation allow their governments to do, if they have any say in the matter. Nation that hold legitimate Democratic elections are the only ones who can claim any authority for their actions, the nations run by Terrorists, Dictators and Tyrants have no legitimate authority at all. Nations use force to suit their needs, it will be that way until the end of time, if you don't like it change your government or do yourself in because beyond that there isn't much you can do. No nation is perfect, Russia is not a group of good guys, the American Deep state, the "establishment" is not a group of good guys, they are a group of people who are looking to profit for themselves, that is why they are livid that the American people had the nerve to elect President Trump over their coconspirator Hillary Clinton. Europe is a group of self-absorbed Socialists who what to recapture the bad old days of Feudalism all over again, Africa is still just tribal or controlled by the butchering mohammedans, the middle east is a constant churning of mohammedan tyrannies, South America is a Narco-tyranny. China is a communist slave state tyranny. The only thing "illegal" is the actions of the losers of each event. 

In reply to by greenskeeper carl

philipat are we there yet Sun, 04/15/2018 - 19:25 Permalink

SO now the OPCW is in Syria, perhaps they can also take a look at the "Chemical Weapons Facilities" that the "US and its Allies" just destroyed. The fact that there was no immediate impact on surrounding populations is already strange, in that "Chemical Weapons Facilities" presumably store chemical weapons which would be released courtesy of Tomahawk missiles? Putting that aside for a moment, if indeed these were "Chemical Weapons Facilities" then with certainty, there must be high concentrations of such weapons in the destroyed building? Just sayin...

In reply to by are we there yet

IH8OBAMA philipat Sun, 04/15/2018 - 19:45 Permalink

Let's correct one little fact in this story:

"At a special session on the UN Security Council on Tuesday, the Russian Federation vetoed a resolution establishing an independent investigation into the Syrian chemical attack that occurred last weekend.

All members of the 15-member security council voted for the resolution except Russia, China, and Bolivia. China abstained."


In reply to by philipat

new guy IH8OBAMA Sun, 04/15/2018 - 21:23 Permalink

Let's flesh out your one little fact in this story. The U.S. resolution presented to the security council was not the only resolution presented. Perhaps you can share with us the content of the U.S. resolution and the two Russian resolutions which were also vetoed so that we can decide for ourselves the merits of each. Otherwise people might conclude that you are presenting facts in a somewhat misleading manner.   

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

not dead yet IH8OBAMA Sun, 04/15/2018 - 22:26 Permalink

In the article above click on "blocked by the US and it's allies" and it will take you to an article explaining why Russia vetoed the proposal. Instead of the OPCW the US wanted a new organization created to do the investigating of the incident in Douma. In other words the US is afraid they will find no trace of chemical weapons and to create a new organization to investigate will take considerable time. Thus the investigation will fail due to witnesses no longer around and the new committee findings would rightly say no traces of chemical weapons were found not because they weren't used but the in the delay to investigate all traces would normally disappear on their own. Then the Trumpster and Bolton could still claim gas was used and point to the video as proof. If it wouldn't have been extremely obvious that the US wanted to cover up the non crime some of the missiles would have been directed at the site of the supposed crime. Even if Bolton and crew were stupid and desperate enough to destroy the crime scene with Russians all over the area they didn't want to risk retaliation from Russia if they killed Russians. Plus if the US could delay the investigation they could have their pet rebels shell the area to destroy the evidence and claim Assad did it to cover up his crime.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

kaboomnomic IH8OBAMA Mon, 04/16/2018 - 08:16 Permalink

Who are you trying to kid?…



" UNITED NATIONS: Russia vetoed a UN Security Council resolution that would have condemned the use of chemical weapons in Syria last week and called on the government there to cooperate with an investigation into the incident."



Too stupid to understand??

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Leotardo IH8OBAMA Mon, 04/16/2018 - 08:30 Permalink

So let's:

One proposal, from the United States, would have sidelined the existing official investigative agency for chemical weapons, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and set up a brand new “independent mechanism of investigation to determinate accountability” for the chemical-weapon attack that the U.S. and its allies allege to have happened but for which no evidence had been presented (other than alleged videos of it that were taken and spread by the White Helmets branch of Al Qaeda in Syria and which group the U.S. and its allies praise for helping injured ‘rebels’ and their associates). Russia vetoed the U.S. proposal because by the time such a new organization would be set up and officially accuse the Syrian and Russian Governments for the presumed chemical attack, the war between the U.S. and Russia would probably already be long past, and so the U.S. proposal couldn’t possibly prevent the U.S.-led invasion of Syria, anyway.

The Council then proceeded to vote on a competing draft submitted by the Russian Federation, also rejecting it, by a recorded vote of 6 in favour (Bolivia, China, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Russian Federation) to 7 against (France, Netherlands, Peru, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States), with 2 abstentions (Côte d’Ivoire, Kuwait).
By the terms of that text, the Council would have established a United Nations independent mechanism of investigation, also for an initial period of one year, and urged it to fully ensure a truly impartial, independent, professional and credible way to conduct its investigation.  It would have further directed the mechanism to make full use of all credible, verified and corroborated evidence collected by the OPCW fact-finding mission, while also directing it to collect and examine additional information and sources not obtained or prepared by the mission, including all information provided by the Government of Syria and others on the activities of non-State actors.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

mailll are we there yet Mon, 04/16/2018 - 00:30 Permalink

Since you mentioned Saudi Arabia, I need to give my opinion of them...I think at this time they are just kissing up to Israel, the US, France, and anyone else united to the US just so our allies can say, "Look, the Saudi's are our friends, lets give them everything they ask for!"  So we will end up giving them all the weapons they ask for only to some day use them against Israel. Yes, the US and the Saudi's have always had close ties but remember, the Jews and Muslims hate each other for the most part.  I do not trust the Saudi's, the biggest violators of human rights in the middle east.  I truly believe they will get all the weapons they can and then in the near future, turn on Israel.  By that time I think the Shia and Sunni will set their differences aside and unite against Israel.  I always believed that very well could happen some day. Whether it does or not remains to be seen.

In reply to by are we there yet