You can murder people any which way you want, but you can’t use gas, that’s a big no no. Unless you are a friend of the US and are trying to finish off one of its hated enemies. Iraq was allowed to use gas against Iran. Germany supplied it to them. The corporate media had to shut up. Iraq gassed Iranians. That was ok, that was good. Western diplomats celebrated this in Bagdad at the time. Later, Saddam fell out of grace, then it became a big no no again. Like when he used gas against the Kurds.
In the case of Syria there is so much propaganda flying around that the question above is hard to answer. What is certain is that the west has a track record of lies about the use of gas.
When I talked to the Dutch ambassador here in Slovakia, who used to work around disarmement issues, he said he had zero doubt Assad was behind this and that they had known this all along, that Assad was capable of doing this.
Even a very liberal media outlet like truthdig is blaming Assad.
Also odd is that Israel can mow down peaceful protesters in droves, but at the mere mention of gas all world leaders suddenly go berserk. Very odd indeed.
The most convincing arguments that Assad is using gas:
– his military forces have been decimated, because mostly Allawite soldiers have stayed loyal, but the rest, especially Sunni soldiers, have deserted and have either fled or joined a wide variety of anti-government militias and armies. Gas might be his way to maintain control with only a relatively small, but well equipped army, backing him. His army has trouble entering the last rebel held strongholds, with gas he can do more damage at no cost to his own forces and spread fear.
– it scares the hell out of the civilian population, in areas where the population supports the guerrillas or terrorists or freedom fighters (you can make your pick based on which side you prefer) the use of gas might scare civilians so much that they stop helping the guerrillas with shelter, food and supply. Mao called the support of civilians ‘the ass’ of a guerrilla movement, without an ass you can’t sit down and you have to keep on running till you collapse from exhaustion
The most convincing arguments that Assad is NOT using gas
– in seven years of war Assad hasn’t been driven from power. Yes, the country fell apart and at a certain point Assad held only a couple of key regions, but especially with the support the Russians, Assad is now on the verge of winning the war. It’s unlikely he’ll ever get all of Syria back, it’s very likely the Kurds will get more autonomy, but still, he’s on the verge of being firmly in control again. If he is in control now, it’s highly unlikely it’s because he used gas. Certainly not on a massive scale. It’s because the allawites stayed loyal to him and the allawites have historically been the core of the army. He’s also been smart, he’s managed to hold on to key areas.
– who benefits the most from gas? Not Assad. Assad just risks to get an international coalition trying to send a huge rocket up his ass. It’s the losing rebels and Saudi funded mercenaries that have the most to gain from any international outrage. They can quite easily make some gas to release it on their own territory and spark international outrage. Only they could possibly benefit from this.
If Assad is using gas then he is a gambling moron.
But a moron can’t hold on to a country when the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and other allies are trying all they can to get rid of Assad, except for outright full scale ground invasion.
We are not 100 percent sure, but we are giving Assad the benefit of the doubt when it comes to gas.
Are his soldiers and police forces using brutal methods to silence their opponents? Yes, no doubt. Are they using gas? Only if they are complete idiots. Their opponents have a more likely motive.
Syria needs to be destroyed, because it’s friends with Iran and Hezbollah, and Israel still illegally occcupies a legitimate part of Syrian territory, the Golan heights. It’s a sick power game the west is playing. It does not care about innocent victims at all, or else it would invade Israel tomorrow morning at the very latest. The west cares about oil, the petrodollar, money, resources and alliances to protect its business interests. Assad got in the way of that.