Uno: Del Guardian. Assad regime responsible for Syrian chemical attack, says UK government
Britain has said it believes forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad were responsible for a chemical weapons attacks in the rebel-held suburbs of Damascus, saying the Syrian government had "something to hide".
"I know that some people in the world would like to say that this is some kind of conspiracy brought about by the opposition in Syria," said the foreign secretary, William Hague, on Friday. "I think the chances of that are vanishingly small and so we do believe that this is a chemical attack by the Assad regime."
Syria's government has offered no public response to United Nations calls for its team to inspect the site of the attack, in which opponents of Assad said from 500 to more than 1,000 people died.
Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a "big event of grave concern" in an interview with CNN on Friday but said he would not rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war. He brushed over an interviewer's reminder that he once called the use of chemical weapons a "red line" for US action on Syria.
Washington is split over how to respond to the latest attack. Military leaders such as John Dempsey, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, have urged caution for fear of becoming further embroiled in a Middle East conflict when it is unclear whether the rebels would back US interests.
Moscow on Friday joined calls for an independent investigation by UN experts. The Russian statement said Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, and the US secretary of state, John Kerry, discussed the situation by telephone on Thursday and concluded that they had a "mutual interest" in calling for the UN investigation.
The statement said Russia had called for Assad's embattled government to co-operate with an investigation, but questions remained about the willingness of the opposition, "which must secure safe access of the mission to the location of the incident".
Russia has been one of Assad's key allies in the international arena. Moscow has asserted that the attack was "a homemade rocket loaded with an unidentified chemical agent" and was probably a provocation by opposition forces intended to implicate the Syrian president.
Earlier, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, renewed his call for Syria to allow UN inspectors immediate access to the site of the alleged attack.
"I can think of no good reason why any party – either government or opposition forces – would decline this opportunity to get to the truth of the matter," he told a diplomatic forum in Seoul.
The White House described the death toll as appalling and the US held a flurry of diplomatic talks on Thursday to discuss possible action against the Syrian government.
Though it stressed it had still not yet seen conclusive proof of chemical weapon use, the US state department revealed that Kerry had held seven calls with his foreign counterparts on Thursday, and had taken part in a national security council meeting at the White House.
The Foreign Office confirmed that Hague had spoken to Kerry, but the spokesman declined to comment on the contents of the call.
Dos: Del New York Times. Obama Officials Weigh Response to Syria Assault
WASHINGTON — The day after a deadly assault in Syria that bore many of the hallmarks of a chemical weapons attack, a sharply divided Obama administration on Thursday began weighing potential military responses to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.
Senior officials from the Pentagon, the State Department and the intelligence agencies met for three and a half hours at the White House on Thursday to deliberate over options, which officials say could range from a cruise missile strike to a more sustained air campaign against Syria.
The meeting broke up without any decision, according to senior officials, amid signs of a deepening division between those who advocate sending Mr. Assad a harsh message and those who argue that military action now would be reckless and ill timed.
In an interview with CNN broadcast on Friday, Mr. Obama said the United States is “gathering information” about the chemical weapon reports, but he suggested that it is already clear that the incident will demand “America’s attention.”
“What we’ve seen indicates that this is clearly a big event of grave concern,” Mr. Obama said during an interview broadcast on CNN’s “New Day” program. “This is something that is going to require America’s attention.”
Mr. Obama said his administration does not expect cooperation from Syria’s regime to determine what happened in the attack. But he said that when chemical weapons are used, “that starts getting to some core national interests that the United States has.”
Debates about Syria have played out across the Atlantic. France backed the use of force to counter such an attack, and Turkey and Israel expressed outrage. But diplomats in several countries conceded there was no stomach among the Western allies, including the United States, for long-term involvement in a messy, sectarian civil war.
While the Obama administration said it would wait for the findings of a United Nations investigation of the attack, American officials spoke in strikingly tougher terms about what might happen if President Obama determined that chemical weapons were used.
Tres: De Strategic Culture: US military joins Syrian rebels in march on Damascus
Syrian regime’s opponents, supervised by Jordanian, Israeli and American commandos have been moving towards Damascus since mid-August, according to information obtained by French “Le Figaro”.
“The first trained in guerrilla warfare by the Americans in Jordan Syrian troops reportedly entered into action since mid-August in southern Syria, in the region of Deraa,” says the report. “A first group of 300 men, probably supported by Israeli and Jordanian commandos, as well as men of the CIA, had crossed the border on August 17.”
The intelligence service began training rebels despite their alleged links to Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations.
According to “Le Figaro”, these military troops made their way to Syria on August 17, four days before the alleged chemical attacks of Syrian government. This makes the theory of Syrian government using UN sanctioned weapons look very suspicious.
Numerous impartial analysts also commented on a lack of necessity for Assad’s forces to carry out such an attack days after UN inspectors entered the country.
“There are, within some of the videos, examples which seem a little hyper-real, and almost as if they’ve been set up. Which is not to say that they are fake but it does cause some concern. Some of the people with foaming, the foam seems to be too white, too pure, and not consistent with the sort of internal injury you might expect to see, which you’d expect to be bloodier or yellower,” saidStephen Johnson, an expert in weapons and chemical explosives at Cranfield Forensic Institute, in an interview with Euro News.
If the UN experts, who are currently working in Syria, confirm the usage of chemical weapons in the ongoing conflict, one can expect another “Libyan” style scenario to be implemented in the Middle Eastern country.