The fear of a military attack against Syria is mounting because of the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad. But there is evidence coming from the UN proving that it could well have been Syria's opposition, who used sarin gas this time.
There was a chemical weapons attack in April, and a senior UN official Carla Del Ponte, serving on the UN commission looking into human rights abuses in Syria, said in May that it could be the opposition who used sarin gas against local residents.
"Our investigators have been interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals. According to their report of last week, which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got ... they were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition," Carla Del Ponte said.
Before that, it had widely been assumed that the regime used chemical weapons. However, Del Ponte’s statement was seemingly not publicized much in the media, because it would tarnish the reputation of Syria’s "freedom fighters."
This was not the first time rebel forces in Syria came under suspicion for using chemical weapons. The Syrian government has accused them, and some independent commentators have speculated that rebels could have gotten hold of stocks of chemicals when storming government facilities. But the U.S. government cast doubt on the conclusions of Del Ponte’s commission and made it clear that Assad would be to blame for any chemical attack happening in Syria: "We find it highly likely that any chemical weapon use that has taken place in Syria was done by the Assad regime. And that remains our position," said Jay Carney, White House Spokesman.
Yet some specialists have questioned the idea of chemical weapons use by Assad. Russian military experts argue that from a purely strategic point of view it would be stupid for the government to use chemical weapons, because it has been taking over in the civil war so far. The use of chemical weapons would have been a clear mistake by Assad that would lead to an immediate intervention. The way the situation is developing now makes a strong case to argue that the rebels, or their Qatari or Saudi counterparts, could have been behind the attack.
But there are even more interesting facts to consider here. Independent commentators are saying that it’s in the interest of the U.S. to sabotage the UN chemical weapons investigation in Syria, because the last time the UN concluded that the government was not behind the sarin gas attack in April. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Obama administration "warned" Ban Ki Moon that "there wasn’t adequate security for the UN inspectors to visit the affected areas to conduct their mission." And then the sniper fires upon the UN vehicles, and the question arises whether Assad would really stage this if he had granted access to UN specialists and he would inevitably fall under suspicion if anything had happened.
Probably the biggest doubt about the sarin gas attack is gas itself. A footage showing how people with no protective clothing or respirators inspect bodies makes Western specialists certain that in the case of military sarin gas these people would die as well. This means that the opposition could easily obtain non-military sarin gas to perpetrate this attack. Both Agénce France Press and Israeli Haaretz reported this, but again, it diverts too much from the mainstream point of view in the media, which is why was totally ignored.
Anyway, any military attack is not going to happen until Sunday, when UN specialists are scheduled to finish their tests. Their results may come as a surprise to many. But the question is: Will it stop the U.S. from attacking Syria, or will the operation happen anyway?