"They didn't tell us what these arms were or how to use them," complained a female fighter named 'K.' "We didn’t know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons."
According to an article at Global Research News written by Dale Gavlak and Yahya Ababneh, there was no "chemical attack". Poorly trained rebel fighters supported by Saudi Prince Bandar Bin Sultan were given chemical weapons by the Saudi prince. Since they were not properly trained, they mishandled the weapons, causing them to explode. This report also favors the lower casualty figure of 355 dead (originally reported by Doctors Without Borders) rather than the highly inflated figures of 1200 and 1300 that are unsourced and yet so often quoted by the world's press. Additionally, Fars News Agency is now reporting that Russia believes the Saudis supplied these chemical weapons to the rebels and have promised to retaliate against Saudi Arabia if the United States takes military action against the Assad regime.
All of the most reliable sources seem to agree, the chemical weapons "attack" killed 355 people, including many women and children. Most of those killed are reported to be innocent civilians who lived in the area where this chemical discharge took place. The gas released into the neighborhood was Sarin gas, that has been confirmed, but the exact nature of the delivery system has not. Until the delivery system is also confirmed, it is impossible to pinpoint who released the gas. Most of the mainstream media reports include the tidbit that Assad's forces bombarded the area where the gas was released "to cover the evidence of their attack". If, in fact, the gas was released from weapons controlled by the rebels, then the Syrian attack takes on an entirely new meaning. Now, rather than attempting to destroy evidence, they are attacking a known rebel stronghold revealed by the accidental release of chemical weapons.
Do not assume that the regime is innocent in all of this. Tens of thousands of non-combatants have died in carpet bombing and arbitrary shelling of neighborhoods outside rebel control. The "crack-down" by the Assad regime is nearly genocidal in its wide-ranging, arbitrary, and deadly reach. Millions have fled the fighting and are now living in refugee camps in Turkey, Iraq, and Jordan. According to Sky News and based on an interview with Secretary of State John Kerry, the Assad regime has been planning to make such an attack for a very long time and 1,429 were killed in the attack. Now it is entirely possible that there were multiple releases of chemical weapons in a couple of days. It is entirely possible that the rebels mishandled some weapons, resulting in the death of 355, and in response or coincidentally at the same time, the Assad regime launched a chemical attack on the same neighborhood, resulting in the additional deaths. If so, then the artillery that followed the Assad regime use of chemical weapons would have been intended to either block the escape of people fleeing the chemical weapons or to herd them toward the chemical weapons.
It strikes me that the single most important lesson to take away from the events of August 21st is that there are no good guys in the Syrian civil war. The regime is sadistic and tyrannical. The rebels are sadistic and fanatic. What we have in Syria is two brutal forces in opposition. Neither side in this conflict is morally justified in the brutality of their tactics and the sadistic manner in which they are waging this war. The tragedy and mayhem this war has inflicted on the people of Syria is truly heartbreaking. The fallacy of Samantha Powers' "Responsibility to Protect" mandate is the assumption that one side or the other simply must be innocent victims and the world simply must step in to defend the innocent party from the evil doers. In the real world, war never has "good guys" and "bad guys". Not even World War Two where the Allied powers are so often written up as "good" while the Axis powers are so often written up as "evil" was not so purely cut and dried as the history books like to present. Wars are fought between two competing interests who have failed to negotiate an equitable settlement to their differences. Those competing interests are very real to both sides, and vitally important to their survival. When faced with complete destruction, people will always respond with a violent attempt to destroy their enemy before they themselves are destroyed. War is a no-compromise fight to the death between two groups who cannot conceive of surviving until they eliminate the opposition.
Stepping into a civil war is never a good idea. Stepping into a civil war between two groups who both hate you is suicide. The worst idea of all is to step into a civil war where both sides hate you in support of the side that is opposed to a third country that has spent decades waiting for an excuse to attack you. That is the scenario we have in Syria. Russia has been seeking some reason to destroy the United States ever since the division of Europe and Korea at the end of World War Two. In Syria, Russia has decided that the evil of Assad is less disagreeable than the evil of the rebels, so they are backing Assad. Russia has said repeatedly that if the United States enters this conflict in support of the rebels then Russia will attack the United States and her friends in the region. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel are targets that either Russia or her proxy Iran have declared will suffer retribution for any American involvement in Syria. This means that any attack on Assad's regime as a result of the August 21st chemical weapon release will become the opening shots in World War Three.
Russia would be a powerful enemy in the best of times. Any war fought between the United States and Russia at any time over the past century would have resulted in millions of deaths among both soldiers and civilians, possibly tens of millions. These are not the best of times. Barack Obama has shown himself to be delusional, incompetent, and blissfully unaware of the consequences of his decisions. These are the worst possible qualities to have in a Commander in Chief in wartime. Such commanders routinely throw away countless lives in unnecessary actions that have no genuine strategic value. Even worse, our military is coming out of a decade of warfare in the Middle East. While this means we have experienced fighters with firsthand experience in the region, it also means our stores of ammunition, replacement parts, fuels, foods, and even uniforms have been badly depleted. Another war in this region will stretch our logistics to the breaking point. The only reason we were able to carry on war in Iraq for so long is that our supply lines into the country were not subject to piracy or interruption by enemy forces. In a war with Russia our supply lines into the region will suffer as badly as our front line combat troops. Naval battles the like of which have not been seen since World War Two will become daily events as Russian submarines and destroyers lay waste to American and allied merchant marines. Food, ammunition, even clean water, will become scarce commodities and those shortages will generate as many casualties as combat does. Since the Russian supply lines will be overland along one of the oldest trade routes in the world, Russian forces will not suffer the same deprivations as American forces do.
As the Japanese and Germans learned so very well in World War Two, winning a war takes more than morale and "fighting spirit". Winning a modern war requires solid supply lines, mass production, and clear objectives. Any military attack on Syria will bring us into a war with a global theater that cripples our supply lines. Our mass production industrial base is now mostly in China, Mexico, South America, Southeast Asia, India, and Pakistan. Check the tags on your clothes and towels, the labels on your potato chips and fresh tomatoes. Nothing made outside the United States will be available once Russia sinks a few American ships and sends her tanks driving south through Turkey. We are no longer the industrial giant that won World War Two. Our current president is a joke who acts like a rock star and spends more time on vacation in a single year than all the vacations taken by every president since Clinton all rolled together. This is the worst possible time to be putting ourselves into a situation where we tempt Russia to act on her decades old dream: the total destruction of the United States of America.
Global Research News: Syrians in Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack
Mint Press News: Syrians in Ghouta Say Saudi-Supplied Rebels Were Behind Chemical Weapons Release
Fars News Agency: Saudis on Full Alert After Putin Threatens Retaliation
Washington Post: Nine Questions the Administration is too Embarrassed to Ask
AP Sources: Intel on Syrian chemical attack is not a "slam dunk"
CBC News: Doctors Without Borders reports 355 killed by chemical weapons in Syria
Sky News: US says Syrian Regime Planned Attack for Days