Syria Today: Chemical Weapons Attack — US Sits on Its Hands

Published on August 23rd, 2013 | by Joanna Paraszczuk, Scott Lucas

EAworldview – The Obama Administration continued to exercise great caution on Thursday over the regime assault that killed at least 1360 people near Damascus, refusing to call it a chemical weapons attacks and making no commitment to American action.President Obama still has not spoken about the events, but the White House spokesperson said at yesterday’s press briefing:

At this time, right now, we are unable to conclusively determine CW use, but we are focused, every minute of every day since these events happened yesterday, on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.

As for action, spokesperson Jen Psaki described Secretary of State John Kerry’s phone calls to foreign leaders, including Syrian National Coalition head Ahmad Asi al-Jarba:

He expressed our sincere condolences to the Syrian people….He reiterated the United States commitment to looking into what has happened on the ground….He encouraged…all opposition groups to work with the UN in their investigation…and that the Syrian regime grant access. So far, the only response of the international community to Wednesday’s attacks has been a United Nations Security Council statement calling for — but not demanding — access to the sites to UN inspectors. In June, the Obama Administration said it would begin public supply of arms to insurgents. However, on the day of the attacks, a letter confirmed the position of the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, that there should be no intervention beyond expanded humanitarian aid.

Psaki said of the Dempsey letter:

The context makes clear that military options cannot be considered in isolation. That’s why our national security interests, why our goal of advancing our own interests on the ground, why a number of factors are part of the discussion. They have been. They will continue to be.


Following Chemical Attack, FSA Commanders Slam Lack Of International Support: “After Today There Are No Red Lines”

A video statement made Thursday by FSA leaders of the North, East, West, Central and Homs fronts, and representatives of military councils and and revolutionary leaders, slams international inaction in the wake of reports of a “poison gas” attack in the Damascus suburbs.


In the statement, the leaders criticize the participation of “Majusians” — a reference to Iran — and the use of “all kinds of weapons including those that are forbidden internationally”, after a year of “false promises” by countries that called themselves the friends of the Syrian Revolution, who also do not recognize the “red lines” that they themselves set.

At the same time, the statement says, countries like Russia, China, Iraq, and Iran, as well as Hezbollah and certain “mercenaries from Egypt” have provided all kinds of support for the “Majusian occupation”. Meanwhile, the position of Arab and Islamic countries has remained poor, and does not match the sacrifices of the Syrian people, who remain locked into the war, which will reach the entire Ummah.

Accordingly, the statement says, they will cease all forms of cooperation with those States who made the U.N. Security Council resolution [a reference the U.N. Security Council statement on the chemical weapons attacks] unless there is an urgent, international investigation opened onto the criminal regime’s use of chemical weapons and [until it is] held accountable.

The statement calls on all factions of the FSA to work and coordinate with all forces on the ground in Syria, and says they should trust in God alone, and that they should act as one against the “Majusian occupation”, backed by the international community, and that the FSA should know that there are no “red lines” after the chemical attacks, and that they are able to gain control of the chemical warehouses to prevent any future attacks. If Arab and Islamic support was not commensurate with the sacrifices of the Syrian people, then the leaders would resign, the statement said.