Will the UN’s Chemical Weapons Report Make Any Difference? – By Scott Lucas

EAworldview – 17.9.2013 – I spoke with Monocle 24′s The Daily on Monday night about the United Nations report confirming the chemical weapons attacks of August 21 near Damascus — and what happens (or does not happen) next in Syria.

Listen to discussion from 7:57 on The Daily’s homepage or in a pop-out window

See also Syria Analysis: 4 Points on UN Report That Sarin Used Near Damascus

Take-away points:

1. “It surprises me how strong the medical evidence is, given the restrictions on inspectors. At the same time, I am surprised by how relatively weak the evidence on rockets is.

“That said, the medical evidence is strong enough to be conclusive the regime carries the responsibility for the August 21 attacks.”

2. “The Assad regime gambled that it could get away with the attacks as part of an offensive to regain territory. The irony is that militarily they have not succeded yet, but politically they did: they have not suffered any punishment so far.”

3. “I don’t think the report will have any consequences for what happened on August 21. And it will not have any effect on the attacks by the regime.

“This conflict went on for 2 1/2 years before chemical weapons were used, and it will go on for a lot longer.”

4. “Unless someone calls Russia’s bluff, there is no reason for Moscow to detach itself from Assad.”

About the Author – Scott Lucas Scott Lucas is a professor of American Studies at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA