COMMENTARY | As the United States inches closer to intervention in Syria, the question of who used chemical weapons remains. The US asserted on Monday that the Syrian government was responsible. However, the truth is we may never know what actually happened.
Syria is a closed country made even worse by the more than two-year civil war. As such, no outside media is allowed and the UN inspectors sent on Monday may never uncover enough evidence to pin the blame on either side.
Arguably, both sides have access to chemical weapons including mustard gas, sarin gas, and other deadly weapons of mass destruction. And CBS News reports that President Obama ordered the release of legal justifications for a military strike on Syria.
Secretary of State John Kerry also stated on Monday that the evidence is “screaming at us” that chemical weapons have been used in Syria. Yes, that is highly likely.
But without knowing which side is responsible, it is unfair to place the blame. But it seems the United States, and a few other world powers, are doing just that. Kerry went on to say in his comments on Monday, “Let me be clear: The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity.”
The US Secretary of State went on to say, “By any standard, it is inexcusable and — despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured — it is undeniable.” Kerry’s words, along with the comments made by President Obama, leave little doubt that the US will soon strike Syria.
If it does, the action will likely cause backlash in the international community. And the question still remains over who exactly is responsible for the reported Syrian chemical weapons attack. While there have been a few reports of gas attacks already this year, the incident in question happened last Wednesday morning. Doctors Without Borders reported that three of its hospitals took in more than 3,000 patients with “neurotoxic symptoms” that morning. Of those, more than 300 died.
A team of UN inspectors is also at the site taking samples from the soil, air, and from victims. They are also taking testimony of eyewitnesses and victims in the attack. And according to The Washington Times, the United States could be completely off base. According to the paper, a member of the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria spoke with Swiss TV about the investigation.
She explained that, while there is no concrete proof, there are “strong, concrete suspicions” that the rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were actually to blame for the chemical weapons attack. The woman, Carla del Ponte, added that her panel has yet to find evidence that the Syrian government forces have used nerve agents.
Those preliminary findings could prove one of two things: either the rebels really are responsible for the chemical weapons attacks, or the Syrian government has done a very good job of covering up their part in the incident. Either way, it is likely we will never know who was really responsible for last Wednesday’s reported attack.
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