It was a no brainer: Gen. Itai Baron, head of the research division at IDF Military Intelligence, told the annual conference of the Institute for National Security Studies on Tuesday about the the Syrian government’s repeated use of chemical weapons.
He said photographs of the victims in Syria show foam coming out of their mouths, which he and his staff at Military Intelligence identified as the result of a chemical attack.
“To the best of our professional understanding, the regime has used lethal chemical weapons on a number of occasions, including the incident on March 19,” he said.
On 19 March 2013, the Syrian government and the Syrian rebels accused each other of using chemical weapons in an attack in the province of Aleppo. Reports of the event indicated that between 15 and 40 died. A Reuters photographer reported the gas had a “chlorine like smell” and said that he saw victims suffocating. The Syrian rebels say the chemical agent was delivered via a SCUD missile. Reuters photographs show images of government soldiers injured in the attack. But senior American officials said that the rebels don’t possess the means to launch chemical weapons.
All of the above is not good enough for the U.S. Administration. According to the NY Times, it is still waiting for the results of “an exhaustive analysis of soil, hair and other material to determine whether chemical warfare agents have been used.”
And then, even if that investigation proves the use of chemicals, a U.S. official told the Times, “the White House must determine who used them and whether they were used deliberately or accidentally.”
He did not offer a timetable for that process.
The whole world knows the Syrians have five chemical weapons production facilities, two of which are next door to missile launching sites (al-Safira and Hama). And by now the whole world is convinced Syria has been using those weapons on its own civilians. So what’s the catch? Why are Sec. John Kerry and Sec. Chuck Hagel hell bent on denying the obvious truth?
Because President Obama has told the world he would send American troops in, should Syria use chemical weapons.
He obviously directed his warning at President Assad, to make sure the latter understands America means business this time. He was wagging his finger, he wasn’t actually planning to make good on his warning. President Obama really doesn’t need another war on his hands.
He did not expect the rather savvy Assad to dare him on his statement. Now he’s stuck with the whole world watching. So, if he can’t change his warning, the only thing left to change is reality.
Which is why both his lieutenants, Kerry and Hagel, are working overtime to spread doubt about the validity of the evidence and the analysis. Hagel even put down the source of the analysis, Israel, wondering how come the Israelis hadn’t told him about it when he was there.
Because they didn’t think he had to be told, they were pretty sure he already knew. They also didn’t tell him about the thing with the sun going down come 7 o’clock, and he still managed to prepare for all the darkness that followed.
“It is precisely because this is a red line that we have to establish with airtight certainty that this happened,” the official told the Times.
But the UN is not allowed to send a team into Syria to take soil samples from the site, and certainly not to inspect the chemical facilities – so where is the U.S. going to get its “airtight certainty?”
It won’t. Because President Obama is not prepared to send troops into Syria—and I don’t blame him for it, I think only a fool would jeopardize American lives when we’re perfectly happy to see the Syrians killing each other with impunity. So the Administration will not be confused by the fact, please stop trying.
Except that from Israel’s point of view this is the ultimate test case. It’s got a red line, it’s got a criminal Arab regime, it’s got professional analysis, it’s got pictures. let’s face it, by the time—possibly this coming June—Iran will be ready with an operational nuclear bomb to be mounted on an operational long rage missile, Israel will be able to offer a whole lot less as evidence.
And let us not kid ourselves, if at that point the Administration is not prepared to launch a military operation against Iran, it will be doing precisely what it’s doing today about Syria. Kerry will belittle the evidence, Hagel will express doubts about the source of the analysis and Obama will keep mum about the whole thing.
As always, we are on our own and we have no one to turn to other than our Father in Heaven. I’m suggesting this not as an expression of despair, folks, but as strategy.
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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