Tuesday, January 15, 2013

State Department Investigation - Assad used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels last month

So much for that red line...


"I blogged about this last month, remember? At the time, the only evidence was a few YouTube videos of people on gurneys, wheezing. Seemed hard to believe that Assad would shatter the taboo against using WMD for an attack so small-scale as to leave some doubt that WMDs were actually used. And yet here we are.

The slow news cycle is over:

The consul general’s report followed a series of interviews with activists, doctors, and defectors, in what the administration official said was one of the most comprehensive efforts the U.S. government has made to investigate claims by internal Syrian sources. The investigation included a meeting between the consulate staff and Mustafa al-Sheikh, a high-level defector who once was a major general in Assad’s army and key official in the Syrian military’s WMD program.

An Obama administration official who reviewed the document, which was classified at the “secret” level, detailed its contents to The Cable. “We can’t definitely say 100 percent, but Syrian contacts made a compelling case that Agent 15 was used in Homs on Dec. 23,” the official said…

Many believe that Assad is testing U.S. red lines…

“The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable,” Obama said Dec. 3, directing his comments at Assad. “If you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons, there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.” That same day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added: “we are certainly planning to take action if that eventuality were to occur.”
Follow the link up top for a description of the victims’ symptoms. More than 100 people were allegedly stricken with respiratory problems; five of them died from choking on their own bronchial secretions. The day after it happened, the Syrian American Medical Society spoke to some of the victims and released a report identifying the likely culprit as, indeed, Agent 15:

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