U.N. Says Surface to Surface Missiles Delivered Sarin Gas

by Stanley Heller

(original comments below, updates above)

Update, October 4, 2013

Michael Karadjis, in long article "Dispelling the illusions about Syria" was published in the Socialist Worker on September 30 made these points.

"... much of the left wants to believe it may have been a bunch of Free Syrian Army (FSA) people who were unknowingly transferring some containers of sarin gas from Saudi Arabian contacts in Jordan to al-Qaeda, not knowing what it was, who then had an "accident" in a tunnel, tripped over and spilled the sarin.

And apparently this not only killed everyone in the tunnel (except some who apparently survived to tell the tale), but also people scattered over 12 villages in the region (though separated by some areas that somehow weren't affected). When members of the group Aum Shinrikyo released sarin in a subway in Japan years ago, 13 people were killed, all in the subway. This time, some on the left want to believe the sarin wickedly spread out of the tunnel and killed hundreds of people over an area far and wide."

These are excellent points. As I pointed out earlier without maps the U.N. report which just named areas does not explain how far apart these chemical attack were and how unlikely (impossible) it would be for it all to be just an accident.

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Update, September 17,18

Though the op-ed by Vladamir Putin in the New York Times claimed that the rebels were responsible for the chemical attack in Syria last month his government is not rushing to criticize the U.N. report which claims that surface to surface missiles carried Sarin gas in their warheads, nor is it furnishing its supposed evidence of rebel attack.

An article on the Russia Today website quotes Russian's U.N. Ambassodor Churkin as saying that suggestions the attack was a rebel provocation “cannot be shrugged off”. Churkin also told journalists
“not to jump to conclusions” when questioned about whether Cyrillic alphabet markings, which were found on fragments of rockets reportedly used in the attack, proved that they were in possession of government forces. He said that UK and US assertions that rebels do not have the capacity to execute a large scale gas attack were “not grounded in reality”. "
The New York Times describes Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's case in this way.
"Making only vague reference to “lots of evidence delivered by independent experts onsite,” including “a nun from a local convent” and unnamed “eyewitnesses and Western reporters,” he went on to say that the Aug. 21 rocket attack with sarin gas on rebel-held areas outside Damascus had been staged"
Lavrov promoted a September 6 letter by former U.S. intelligence officials claiming information that the chemical attack was a "pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters". According to the New York Times, the TV station and website Russia Today featured an interview with Ray McGovern, one of the signers of the letter and a former CIA intelligence analyst, under the inflamatory headline "“C.I.A. Fabricated Evidence to Lure U.S. Into War With Syria.”" . The interview, however, was a week old, done before the U.N. report was released. It consisted mainly of McGovern chiding chided the Obama Administration for not revealing any actual evidence (like the alleged communication it had between Syrian military officers).

On Sept. 18 the New York Times published an article about the trajectories of the two missiles found by the U.N. team, tracing both back to a totally secure mountain under Assad regime control.

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First analysis - September 16, 2013

Text of U.N. Report on Deaths from Chemicals in Syria - Released 9/16/2013

1. Neither the Syrian government nor the Russians nor anyone else criticized the members of the U.N. research team as they were doing their investigation or demanded added personell. So it would be difficult to criticize their qualifications now.

2. In section 23 the report says they found sections of rockets with Sarin gas traces. The report decided that the warheads came off before the rockets hit the ground.

3. Some of the rocket pieces had markings in the Cyrillic alphabet, suggesting they came from the armaments of the Russia.

4. There were no maps showing the area of the "Ghouta incident" as they call it so it's hard to tell how big the killing field was. However, this does not sound at all like some rebel dropped a bottle of chemicals by mistake

5. There were five impact sites of the missiles that were investigated.

6. I have no idea what the Saudis or Qataris gave the rebels in the way of rockets, but these armaments sound big time.

7. Though anything is possible, there are few if any examples in history when a force killed hundreds of it's own people to get sympathy or to get another force to intervene.

8. No estimate was made of how many died.

9. Two brothers from the "Zamalka" area said their family of 40 lived in one building and that the two of them were the only surivivors.

10. In his op-ed in the New York Times Putin said the rebels shot the chemicals. He should present his evidence because the U.N. report is quite damning to the Assad regime.

11. Perhaps this time the U.S. government intelligence reports got it right. The Obama Administration still should be criticized for preparing to go to war without showing any evidence to the public and without waiting for the U.N. report.

12. As we've said many times before, whatever the evidence the U.S. has no moral authority to get involved or to bomb. Let it clean up it's messes in Iraq, Iran, Palestine, Egypt and the rest before it dares get invovled.