A Russian probe into the chemical attacks in Syria has now been made public, and it couldn’t have come at a more convenient and poignant time. As you probably know, Russia has repeatedly warned the United States that there is not enough evidence that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack. The United States has largely ignored this rhetoric, with President Barack Obama pushing ahead with his plans to try to get Congressional support for a limited punitive attack. Today, Russia released information that is only going to ramp up the tension between the classic enemies even as the United States seems to be inching closer toward action.
According to the Russian probe, chemicals used in the attacks on March 19 in Aleppo show no signs of being part of the Syrian army’s standard munitions. In fact, the probe goes on to say that the weapons are much more consistent with the weapons of the rebels that are trying to topple the regime in what has become one of the world’s bitterest and most violent civil wars. Of course, this probe corroborates an accusation made by Putin earlier in the week that there was no reason to believe that the attacks were the result of the rebels and not the Syrian government.
The reason many believe that the rebels might have done it themselves is because it has been well-documented that America and other countries declared the use of chemical weapons as a figurative line in the sand for when international forces would get involved. So, the concept of this ground-gaining conspiracy theory is that the rebels executed the attack just to blame it on Syria, hoping that the United States and others would then join in their potential revolution. The United States says that all evidence points to the Syrian government as the culprit. As a matter of fact, Secretary of State John Kerry has said repeatedly that there is no doubt whatsoever, even calling it “undeniable.”
If there was a false flag operation on the part of the rebels, it may not have gone over as they hoped. President Obama has repeatedly indicated that he is not interested in trying to topple the regime, but only to punish them for the use of chemical weapons and cripple their ability to resort to these means again in the future. However, many experts on the Middle East say that while that might be Obama’s sincere intentions, once that first missile is launched, no one can really control the series of events. Iran and Russia seem to be aligned alongside Syria, and it is hard to say whether anyone would consider retaliation if the United States launches an attack.
The Senate is expected to vote on this early next week. However, President Obama has expressed that he does not have to have their permission to launch strikes, and many feel that he is set on his course of action regardless of the outcome of the vote.