News Release

Administration Claims on Syria Questioned


The Washington Post reports this morning: “The Obama administration appeared Wednesday to be forging ahead with preparations to attack Syria. It dismissed a Syrian request to extend chemical weapons inspections there as a delaying tactic and said it saw little point in further discussion of the issue at the United Nations.”

“We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” President Barack Obama said in an interview on the PBS “NewsHour” broadcast on Wednesday evening. “And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.”

However, AP reported this morning: “The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack that killed at least 100 people is no ‘slam dunk,’ with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria’s chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.”

PATRICK COCKBURN, patrick.cockburn at
Cockburn recently wrote the piece: “Only a Peace Conference Can Stop Further Bloodshed,” which states: “What armed intervention by foreign powers in Syria will not do is bring an end to the present bloody stalemate in the two-and-a-half-year-old civil war. But governments in Washington, London and Paris should realize that in one respect the slaughter by chemical weapons of hundreds of people in Damascus on August 21 is an opportunity as well as a crime. It is an opportunity because the chemical weapons atrocity and the crisis it has provoked show that the Syrian civil war cannot be left to fester.” Other pieces by Cockburn can be found at:

MERYL NASS, M.D., mnass at
Nass runs the Anthrax Vaccine blog and just wrote the piece “CBW attacks in Syria and Elsewhere: Proving Who Did It Is the Hardest Part.”

MUSA AL-GHARBI, musaalgharbi at, @Musa_alGharbi
Gharbi is a research fellow with the Southwest Initiative for the Study of Middle East Conflicts based at the University of Arizona. He just wrote the piece “Red Lines Drawn with Syrian Blood,” which states: “As the Obama administration has made abundantly clear, the impending Western strikes in Syria will not be aimed at deposing Assad. The goal is not to resolve, but to perpetuate the conflict.”

Gharbi also recently wrote “Toxic Discourse on Chemical Weapons,” which states: “Al-Qaeda has a long and well-documented history of obtaining, developing, and deploying chemical weapons—even in the Syrian theater. In May, Turkish authorities disrupted a Jahbat al-Nusra cell and discovered sarin gas in the possession of the militants; it is worth noting that this is the precise chemical agent supposedly used in the small-scale attacks in April, which the Obama administration attributed to the Assad regime. Following closely after this event in Turkey, the Iraqi government claimed to have disrupted another major al-Qaeda plot involving chemical weapons, these to be deployed on a massive scale. It is clear that al-Qaeda and its affiliates within and around Syria have access to chemical weapons, as well as the intent to deploy them.” See BBC report: “Iraq Uncovers al-Qaeda ‘Chemical Weapons Plot.'”