Skip to main content

That something horrific happened in the early morning hours last Wednesday in areas east of Damascus is clear.

Between four hundred and fourteen hundred are reported dead with thousands more reported to have suffered from exposure to some sort of toxin, and this happened in an area which is predominately under the control of al-Nusrah.

This area is one of the few areas in western Syria which are still under al-Nusrah control. They and the other radical Islamic groups have mostly withdrawn to northern Syria along the Turkish-Syrian border.

The Syrian opposition and rebel groups immediately accused Syrian government forces of having carried out a chemical weapons attack, and many followed their lead.

It is possible that Syrian government forces carried out this attack. However, when some, including myself, brought up that it is also possible that al-Nusrah could have carried out a chemical weapons attack, we were generally met with three types of response.

There were the melodramatic cries of "But the babies!!! Look at the dead babies!!!"

And the untrue exclamations that "Assad has massacred over 100,000 civilians!!!"

But the most insidious responses went something like this:

"They (It's always 'they' or 'the rebels', never 'al-Nusrah'.) couldn't do it. They don't have the capability."

This is not only condescending (Implied: Those primitive stupid Arabs and Muslims don't have the brains to do this.), it is also an attempt to elicit sympathy (Implied: Look at those poor rebels, they have nothing.).

More importantly, though, is the fact that it is simply wrong.

Chemical attacks such as what happened last week east of Damascus don't require high technology. They can be carried out with basic materials and simple equipment.

Even if someone doesn't accept that high technology isn't necessary, it is important to remember that al-Nusrah is a part of al-Qaeda, and al-Qaeda has been planning and carrying out large complex attacks for decades, 9/11 being only one example.

al-Qaeda is probably the most successful terrorist organization in history. It has cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives.

Is it really a stretch of the imagination to consider that such a chemical attack is beyond the capabilities of al-Nusrah/al-Qaeda?

... and this:

"They wouldn't do this to their own people."

This is vile.

The subtle attempt to portray 'them' as altruistic, benevolent, and popular. (Implied: Look, they have people, and the people who live in the area of the attacks support them. That's why they live there.).

With the underhanded attempt to label Syrian government forces as sectarian (Implied: They are not Assad's people, and that's why he gassed them.).

And again, it is simply wrong.

al-Nusrah and its fellow radical Islamic groups are not altruistic or benevolent. They are vicious radicals and are not popular among most of the people who live in the areas under their control. They are also the most sectarian groups in Syria.

They openly and enthusiastically kill anyone they feel is not with them or doesn't support them, and do not hesitate to kill, kidnap, or displace civilians whenever they think it will serve their cause, or if they just feel like doing it.

And they are killing, and kidnapping, and forcing out of their homes large numbers of Kurds now, at this very moment, in northeastern Syria as they try to take control of the Kurdish areas there.

Statements about al-Nusrah (and other armed radical Islamic groups in Syria) like the two mentioned above are intentionally or unintentionally glossing over what al-Nusrah is and does. Either way they are disgraceful.

Tags

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  You may be right. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya, shopkeeper, CwV, chuckvw, jabney

    I hesitate to offer a direction, much less a solution.

  •  The evidence is conclusive (5+ / 0-)

    that a chemical weapon attack occurred.

    It is less conclusive that the Syrian government is responsible for having conducted that attack.

    The encouraging news is that UN observers will be allowed to investigate the incident.  Less encouraging are reports that the US has already determined, before the investigation is even conducted, that the regime is the responsible party.

    It looks like the hawks have won the debate in Washington.

    The efforts to repeal Obamacare are the GOP Abort Obamacare Act. lynneinfla

    by litho on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:10:42 PM PDT

    •  Don't know why this is encouraging. Assad will let (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya

      them see what he wants them to see. And no, I'm not saying that its conclusive that Assad is responsible. But you can be damn sure that if he is he will not allow the U.N. inspectors to see anything that shows his regime is responsible.

      If work was a good thing, the rich would have it all and not let you do it. -- Elmore Leonard

      by voroki on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:19:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The admin. is already on record that Assad has (0+ / 0-)

      to go.
      They're also on record with legitimate concerns about the al Qaeda element of the opposition.
      Anything they say publicly now is part of strategy.
      They must isolate and eventually extract the Assad regime while neutralizing al Qaeda and Hezbollah and Iran.
      That's at the top of a long list of "musts".

      I wouldn't be investing in granite to inscribe anything that's said about the situation in Syria at this moment.

      I dang sure trust Obama more than "Cowboy McCain" or Bush or (Jesus H. Christ) Romney to get us through this without giving al Qaeda or Iran access to our cruise missile launch codes.

      You can't make this stuff up.

      by David54 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 08:09:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why is this plausible? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    Even if Al-Nussrah is technologically capable of such an attack, and as cold-blooded as you're suggesting (killing people obstensively under your own protection being about as cold blooded as anybody can be), why would this make sense?

    It strikes me as high risk from their point of view, and given the reluctance of the US and the EU to intervene, not all that likely to force an intervention.

    Accusations of "false flag" attacks are not uncommon.  But in this case, it makes more sense if the regime did the killing and attempts to blame, say, Al-Nussrah.

    Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

    by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:17:58 PM PDT

    •  Don't understand that reasoning. Why could Assad (9+ / 0-)

      order something like this when he's been told that it's basically his death sentence?  Whereas with Al Nusra you have an Al Qaeda linked terrorist group that has already committed many atrocities, and have been caught with chem weapons, and is capable of anything.  

      "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:30:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  why "would" (corr.) (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cotterperson

        "America is the Terror State. The Global War OF Terror is a diabolical instrument of Worldwide conquest."

        by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:37:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Suppose Assad thinks no invasion is likely (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, sandbox, FG

        Based on what he's seen so far, that's not an unreasonable inference for the Syrian regime.  And Russia and Iran are important allies who can help lower the odds of intervention cosiderably.

        So if that's the case, the best strategy is to break the will of the resistance as quickly as possible, as the Iraqi government did when it became clear that the US did not intend to invade central Iraq in 1991.  As Syria has now, the Iraqis were facing an internal rebellion (Swamp Arabs, in that case).  Which they put down ruthlessly, using chemical weapons along with everything else.

        I don't think a full bore intervention is likely.  I suspect that Obama's current actions will be limited, and are mostly for show.    I think that's the Baath's read as well.  So the strategic use of chemical agents may look attractive to the regime right now in places that would be difficult to pacify any other way.

        Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

        by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:44:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Assad's certain to die if he loses (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, voroki, highacidity, jabney

        For Third World dictators, power is literally life.  It's a Catch-22: you're dead if you're not a monster, but being a monster is the reason most people want you dead in the first place.  Not because they have some abstract moral issue with the bad things you (or rather your goons) do, but because it was their cousin that got those bad things done to him, even if he actually was a crazy jihadi.

        Assad's tribe are Alawites - Sufi Muslims by any other name, but Sunni and Shiite (the big groups) both view them as heretics - and their Druze (semi-Christians) and Christian allies also expect really bad stuff to happen to them all if the regime falls and the jihadis take over ... even if they have no connection to the regime. That's how religious hate works.

        Even if religion weren't an issue, in a tribal society, losing is still very, very bad news.

        War Nerd: changed the way I think. Free stuff here & here

        by Visceral on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:56:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very little incentive to give up (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          InAntalya, Visceral, Lawrence, highacidity

          I think you have this about right.

          Life post Assad looks pretty grim for Alawi Syrians, and for many members of minority groups.  If the rebels win, large scale revenge killings for the excesses of the last 50 years look likely.  And if they fail, there's no reason to believe the Baath will be merciful.

          Huge killings either way.  Many more refugees either way.

          Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

          by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:23:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  politics is a dirty business (0+ / 0-)

            Money may have replaced blood in the West, but they still do it old school in the Middle East.

            But remember that you have people in Iraq who believe that things were better under Saddam.  Yeah, he made himself rich and favored his family and tribe in all things, but that's to be expected.  What mattered is that if you didn't mess with him, he didn't mess with you ... while the jihadis are all about messing with you.  It also helped that he was an old-fashioned nationalist who really wanted Iraq to be rich and strong, like most people want their countries to be.

            There are people in Iran who are getting nostalgic about the Shah.  Another filthy rich (the Iranian Crown Jewels backstop the Iranian currency) and authoritarian Western puppet with a lot of blood on his hands, but the country wasn't hated, the economy was stronger, the government was building stuff, redistributing land, sending people to school, etc., and people had a lot more of the little, everyday freedoms which are all that most people really have anyway.

            War Nerd: changed the way I think. Free stuff here & here

            by Visceral on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:36:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Assad has committed atrocities (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        InAntalya, Lawrence

        as well.

        I am not sure who is to blame for this, but Assad could have helped himself lf if he had immediately invited the Un Inspectors in and given them carte blanche to follow the investigation wherever it lead. He has stalled them and is even now only going to provide limited access.

        That certainly looks like he has something to hide.

        Here's my take on it - the revolution will not be blogged, it has to be slogged. - Deoliver47

        by OIL GUY on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:06:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  prove up where the weapons came from (0+ / 0-)

        extraordinary claim, extraordinary evidence.

    •  First, why do you state that the people (8+ / 0-)

      in al-Nusrah controlled areas are under their protection?

      They aren't. And understanding that is one of the reasons I wrote this.

      As to its making sense, looking for things connected to al-Nusrah/al-Qaeda that make sense probably wouldn't yield any results. They brutally do whatever they want, however they want, to whomever they want.

      I don't claim that it is likely, only that it is a real possibility.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:32:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  " given the reluctance of the US and the EU to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      InAntalya

      intervene"...
      A false flag attack could be used to force US to intervene on the Rebels' side.
      I don't have the facts so I can't swear to this, but it makes more sense than Assad gassing them and then letting UN inspectors go investigate.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:39:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And who's going to let inspectors in? (3+ / 0-)

        If the government falls, there will be inspectors.  No chance of that if it doesn't: it won't remotely be in their interest.

        False flag attacks are a popular theory, especially if you don't want to admit your dog in the fight is the rabid one.  They only work when your audience wants to believe you, as the Bush Administration wanted to believe that there was Iraqi involvement in the 2001 attacks.  But Obama isn't Bush, and the leadership in Europe isn't the same either.

        The Syrian civil war is a complex conflict with high stakes for the people of Syria, but relatively low stakes for outsiders.  Intervention really isn't likely.  Syria is a poor country with no oil and few other resources.  While the suffering is horriffic, the international community has constaints on deciding, can only limit that suffering at great cost, and gets minimal benefit from the doing of it.  The Syrian government knows this.  Pushing the limits of morality makes perfect sense in this context.  The use of chemical weapons, death squads, and any other horror of modern war should be seen in that context.

        Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

        by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:12:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Syrian Government and the UN reached an (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CwV, chuckvw

          agreement about inspections this morning, as I wrote in comments above.

          Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

          by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:22:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Agreeing to inspections and allowing them (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            InAntalya

            are two different things.  Remember the problems the IAEA had investigating Iraq before Bush's War.  And remember, Sadaam Hussein didn't even have much to hide, as we found out.

            No, it makes sense for the Syrians to enter that agreement, even if they are totally culpable.  US warships are on the move today.  The inspectors, well, that's going to be a long time off.

            Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

            by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:30:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Is tomorrow a long time off? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chuckvw, cotterperson, Celtic Merlin
              The world body said a team of U.N. experts already in Syria has been instructed to focus on investigating the purported attack on Wednesday. The mission “is preparing to conduct on-site fact-finding activities’” on Monday, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said in a statement.
              http://www.theguardian.com/...

              Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

              by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:40:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Let's see how they handle them (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                InAntalya, sandbox

                A real forensic investigation takes a while.  I don't think that a site visit will settle anything.  And any uncertainty favors the regime -- a false flag caper needs people to believe in the here and now, or the US will back down.

                The Syrians have a long history of managed inspections.  They may well believe that by delaying action by the US for a week or so that they can get this all to blow over.

                Right now, delaying US and EU intervention is going to be their top priority.  If doing a dog and pony show will accomplish that, risk of proving government involvement would be manageable, even if the Syrians indeed have something to hide.

                Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

                by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:53:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  So if the Syrian government doesn't agree to (3+ / 0-)

                  inspections they are hiding something and if they agree to inspections and the inspections happen they are hiding something, is your opinion?

                  Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                  by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 02:02:45 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  His comments do not make sense. There's no (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    BigAlinWashSt

                    benefits to the Assad regime under any scenario. Especially in that the initial attack had dubious military purpose.

                    Cui bono???????

                  •  I believe the Baathists are more than capable (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    InAntalya, Lawrence, highacidity

                    I don't have a dog in this fight.  I'm not sure who should win.  I don't know what is ultimately in the best interest of the people of Syria.  My sense is that you favor the Ba'ath over the rebels, which I can fully respect.

                    I've also been following Syrian foreign policy for more than 30 years, and am very aware of their influence in Lebanon, and of how they've handled non-conformists like the Islamists.  In particular, I remember Hamah.

                    So yes, I will be skeptical of any quick inspection.  Because it would not be the first time the government has played these sorts of games.  This regime was deeply ruthless (and scary) back in old Hafez's day, when things were stable and going reasonably well.  It's worse now that the whole thing has gone bad, and where the potential for far worse is close.

                    Quote of the week: "They call themselves bipartisan because they're able to buy members of both parties," (R. Eskow, Campaign for America's Future.)

                    by mbayrob on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 02:45:42 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I favor the people of Syria and believe that (6+ / 0-)

                      they can work out their future if given the chance.

                      There are also a few secular opposition groups who are not recognized by the US and European governments, and get no media coverage, because they are against all foreign involvement in Syria and support negotiating with the Syrian Government.

                      I think that they might be the best candidates to establish a foundation for a new government in Syria.

                      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

                      by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 02:55:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  You may be right. The US administration (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  BigAlinWashSt, cotterperson

                  really doesn't want to use the military in Syria--not even guided missiles. It appears UK and France are more favorable to using force--which was the same situation in Libya.  So delay tactics by Syria may work.  It's a sad situation.

  •  there are no "good guys" in Syria (6+ / 0-)

    And of the various bad guys, secular and Western-educated Assad (the second son who never wanted the job anyway) is probably the best choice ... or he was.  After three years of violence shutting down daily life Syria's probably doomed to tribal anarchy anyway, like Iraq.

    Jihad aside, this was never a war for freedom and democracy (wars never are), but always a tribal/religious war of dominance - majority rule vs. minority rights: like Hutu vs. Tutsi in Rwanda/Burundi/East Congo even 20 years later.  Yes, like in Rwanda European imperialism played a role: the French cynically playing favorites is the only reason Assad's tiny hill tribe of "infidels" ended up in control in the first place.

    But the question for them now is what's the alternative to power and the security it provides?  What's the alternative for the Druze and Christians who rallied behind Daddy Assad when the French pulled out, fully expecting the Sunni to turn the tables on them and bring back the bad old days ... especially now that jihad has become the big new thing?  None of them want to end up a tribe with no state to protect them: like the Kurds, or the Hazara in AfPak getting terrorized by the Pashtun majority.

    Westerners don't understand tribalism; we haven't operated on tribal lines since the Romans took over.  We think it's no big deal who's in charge since they're all Syrian, right?  Just like we're all American, right?  Wrong!  Syria is lines on a map drawn by Europeans, just like Iraq.  When the Ottoman Turks ran the show in the Middle East, they let every ethnic/religious group live by its own rules and said "Pay your taxes and don't kill each other".

    But since 19th Century nationalism, culminating in Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points, changed the paradigm from empire to nation-state, it matters who's in charge, because the implicit assumption is that they'll write their own tribal values into the laws of the state, especially if they're the majority.  Even if the Alawites, Druze, and Christians converted to orthodox Sunni Islam, they'd still be vulnerable to whatever tribe any new Syrian warlord belongs to.  Saddam, Qadaffi, etc. played tribal favorites too; at best they left you alone.

    War Nerd: changed the way I think. Free stuff here & here

    by Visceral on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:36:08 PM PDT

  •  Um, no. Cheap racism card. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Be Skeptical, Mindful Nature, FG

    Saying that a rebel group lacks the capability for a sophisticated attack is not saying "Stupid Arabs."

    The sarin gas attack in the Tokyo subway killed 13 people. A chemical weapons attack in the open air that kills 1000 is a big, complicated affair that requires an enormous amount of equipment, coordination, and capability.

    Although I trust that's a racist thing to say, too.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 12:38:53 PM PDT

  •  ok (0+ / 0-)

    enough with the Assad propaganda.  Mulitple intelligence services have been watching chemical weapons in Syria, and they conclude that there regime is the only party with these weapons.

    Please provide actual, credible evidence (ie, not CT, not unverified speculative rumors or self-serving press releases from the Assad regime) that any opposition party had weaponized artillery shells.

    Thanks

    •  And what would that Assad propaganda be? (4+ / 0-)

      I never claimed that any opposition party had weaponized artillery shells.

      Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

      by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 01:47:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes you have repeatedly (0+ / 0-)

        You are running around claiming the opposition did this, parroting the line coming from the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran with ZERO evidence to support it. Contrary to your assertions chemical weapon attacks by artillery or rockets requires sophistication and acces to these weapons.

        We KNOW there was an attack with chemical shells and rockets.  This, if the opposition don't have those weapons, they didn't do it, period.   This is a necessary point to prove up. Without answering this, this is mere CT

        •  No, we DON'T KNOW that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BigAlinWashSt, cotterperson
          there was an attack with chemical shells and rockets.
          There are only some people believe that and try to put it forward as fact.

          I don't care what the Assad regime, Russia, and Iran say. I write what I think.

          And I only claim that it is possible that al-Nusrah (interesting that you say 'opposition' not 'al-Nusrah') carried out a chemical attack.

          Lamb chop, we can quibble what to call it, but I think we can both agree it's creepy.

          by InAntalya on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 02:17:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Um yeah (0+ / 0-)

            Multiple Eye witnesses to the events have confirmed it.  Kind of the only way to deny it is to say that multiple international reporting organizations are in cahoots with the opposition for whatever reason.  That strains credibility

            Sure, I wouldn't put it past al nusra, if they had the weapons, but it completely unclear where they'd have gotten them.

            Sure, you don't care what they say, it is just coincidence you parrot their claims

  •  Are there any reports on how the (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cotterperson

    sarin gas was delivered or disbursed.?

  •  Brown Moses - What will UN investigation involve? (3+ / 0-)
    A Chemical Weapon Specialist's Thoughts On The UN Visit To Syria

    With the arrival of a UN team in Syria searching for evidence of chemical weapon use in Syria I asked Dan Kaszeta, a chemical weapons specialist, some questions about the investigation.

    In general terms, what do you think the UN investigation will involve?

    I have no direct experience of UN investigations.  Indeed, this sort of investigative expedition is a rare event with relatively few precedents  What I can do, is speculate as to what I would do  if I were in charge of the investigation.

  •   Preliminary analysis of alleged CW munitions used (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, BigAlinWashSt, cotterperson
    Preliminary analysis of alleged CW munitions used in Syria
    Posted on August 25, 2013 by N.R. Jenzen-Jones

    In recent days, the world’s attention has been focused on the alleged chemical weapons (CW) attacks in Syria. This post will seek to examine the alleged delivery system used in these attacks, and provide a preliminary analysis of the capabilities and features of such. This is a preliminary analysis only, and should be treated as such. My hope in posting this piece is that it will inform the conversation, and help cut through some of the wild guesses and outrageous claims regarding these munitions that I have seen over the past few days. Nothing in this post should be considered definitive. Additionally, I will not be attempting to establish which side employed chemical weapons, nor indeed if CW were employed at all. These are questions best answered by CW specialists on the ground (such as the UN team in Syria). The earliest video of this munition type that I have seen is from January 2013, and the devices match with those recorded at earlier alleged CW attacks.

  •  How I obtained sarin ingredients (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, cotterperson

    By Angus Stickler

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/...

     I started my search with a computer and the help of London University student Nigel Eady.

    Nigel entered in the words 'sarin' and 'synthesis' to a basic search engine and immediately came up with a long list of links to information about sarin.

    We click on the first one which takes us to a website for Bristol University, where, on its first page there is a description of the various stages of making the compound.

    With just three clicks, we've found a recipe for making sarin in five easy steps with four chemicals.
    ...
     At no point did either of these companies check my credentials.

    With a modicum of deception I was able to buy the precursors of a chemical weapon - a weapon of mass destruction.
    ...
     "It's not really a high tech operation, or greatly technical knowledge that you need, or even complex apparatus to produce a compound like sarin."

    He said you could even make it in a well-ventilated garage.

    We bought enough of these chemical precursors to make twice the amount of sarin used in the Tokyo subway attack.

  •  Thank you, InAntalya. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    InAntalya

    Your diary brought to mind the recently intercepted call between Al-Quaida's leader Al-Zawahiri and someone in Yemen, the reason cited for closing numerous US and UK embassies for a short time:

    it was a message from al-Zawahiri to the leader of al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch ordering attacks on unknown targets, .... There are also signs that al-Zawahiri, 62, is looking to assert his own relevance and control over al-Qaeda’s loosely connected affiliate groups.

    “It would make sense that Zawahiri thinks he needs greater connectivity with AQAP,” says Daniel Benjamin, who served as the State Department’s top counterterrorism official until last year. “If he’s going to revive the global al-Qaeda brand, he needs to show that these [affiliates] are not different bits that have blown apart, but are part of a unified whole.”

    Time August 7

    For those who might not remember, it was Al-Zawahiri who left the Muslim Brotherhood because it wasn't militant enough and who radicalized Osama bin Laden while the US was fighting and recruiting Middle East fighters when Russians invaded Afghanistan. ("Charlie Wilson's War) IIRC, the US bounty on his head is $25 million.

    In looking for a link to that, I found a story that (imho) increases the possibility it was al-Nusrah. A snip from April:

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, April 7 (UPI) -- In his first message since November, al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahiri urged rebels in Syria to fight to establish an Islamic state governed by Sharia law.

    "Let your fight be in the name of Allah and with the aim of establishing Allah's Sharia (law) as the ruling system," he said in an Internet video. "Do all that you can so that your holy war yields a jihadist Islamic state."

    http://www.upi.com/...

    al-Zawahiri has fascinated me since I first saw the Power of Nightmares, an excellent documentary by the BBC's Adam Curtis. It's long but exposes a lot about al-Zawahiri. See if you want to invest the time (I'm glad I did, and may just watch it again):
    The films compare the rise of the Neo-Conservative movement in the United States and the radical Islamist movement, making comparisons on their origins and claiming similarities between the two. More controversially, it argues that the threat of radical Islamism as a massive, sinister organised force of destruction, specifically in the form of al-Qaeda, is a myth perpetrated by politicians in many countries—and particularly American Neo-Conservatives—in an attempt to unite and inspire their people following the failure of earlier, more utopian ideologies.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/...

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:27:52 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site