In what could turn out to be a major embarrassment for the United States and its allies, reminiscent of similar action in Iraq, the world is still to see concrete evidence of President Assad government in Syria ordering use of chemical weapons. Although the Obama administration and its allies continue to insist they have the intelligence, the German media reports that Assad has actually refused permission to his troops to use chemical weapons on several occasions. Russia meanwhile, has pushed forth the argument that it is the rebel forces which used chemical weapons to draw U.S. action against Assad. Reports also suggest that rebels have accepted responsibility for Ghouta incident.
The U.S., on Saturday released a compilation of You Tube video as open-source evidence offering clues of the attack, but with no concrete proof of who carried it out.
Across the Atlantic, the British Prime Minister David Cameron asserted that "from all the evidence we have," his government, along with the Obama administration, had made the "judgment" that "the regime [Assad] is responsible and should be held to account." U.S. and its allies believe that that size of the strike, along with the quantity of toxic material used; suggest that the rebels could not have carried out the attack.
However, Cameron's confidence did not impress lawmakers in the UK, for just like the Obama administration, he too failed to explain what the evidence of Assad's culpability is, or where it came from. Scepticism also seems rife in the U.S. Congress which is debating whether approval must be given to Obama to carry out a military strike against Assad's forces in Syria.
Congress' refusal will be a major setback for the armed Syrian opposition, which in the face of imminent defeat, is hoping to revive its fortunes, once the U.S. enters the civil conflict, on its side. Meanwhile, fearing a "no" vote in Congress, Secretary of State John Kerry opined that the President "has the right" to strike even without the approval of the lawmakers.
On the other hand, media reports suggest the Syrian rebels have admitted responsibility for Ghouta incident in which over 1000 people were killed. Reports revealed that the casualties were the result of an accident caused by rebels mishandling chemical weapons provided to them by Saudi Arabia.
Russia has all along alleged that the Syrian rebels have used chemical weapons and use it with the objective to draw the U.S. into the conflict against Assad.
In related news, the Christian Science Monitor quoting leaked diplomatic correspondence, said that Iran has been warning the U.S. since July 2012 that Sunni rebel fighters in Syria have acquired chemical weapons, and called on the U.S. to send "an immediate and serious warning" to rebel groups not to use them.
Indicating that it will stand by its ally, Iran has said that a strike on Syria by the U.S. will result in a regional war. Meanwhile, the German press quoting high-level German surveillance source had reported that, President Assad did not personally ordered last month's chemical weapons attack in Ghauta that has triggered calls for military intervention by the U.S.
Report in the German press said, Assad has in fact blocked several requests from his military commanders to use chemical weapons against regime opponents in recent months. However, continuing its effort to identify the real perpetrators of the alleged chemical attack, Russia on Monday called for another visit by the U.N. chemical investigators to Syria.
As arguments against the U.S. position on Assad mount, the Obama administration will be making all out efforts to convince Congress, about the need to punish Syria to send a clear signal to other powers who possess chemical and biological weapons.
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