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SYRIA PHANTOM CHEMICAL WEAPONS

Luis Brizuela Bringuez

IT was enough for a high-ranking Israeli intelligence official to allege on April 21 that the Syrian government was deploying chemical weapons against so- called insurgents, for the infamous phantom to reemerge as the pretext for a possible military invention in that country.

Accusations immediately rained down on Damascus from Western capitals and even U.S. President Barack Obama pointed the accusing finger, threatening to change the rules of the game if the use of these weapons were to be confirmed.

But, why and to what end is this issue being whipped up after the disastrous experience of Iraq 10 years ago, when the George W. Bush administration assured that Saddam Hussein's possessed weapons of mass destruction, an assertion that proved to be false, but left Iraq destroyed after the aggression of U.S. and NATO troops.

In recent weeks, the Syrian Arab Army has made significant advances throughout national territory against the mercenary groups sponsored by regional and Western governments.

In parallel, authorities are advancing in terms of implementing the political program, a document proposing a route map to make concrete an end to the conflict through dialogue with all the political and social organizations involved, as well as with belligerent groups who lay down their arms.

In the international sphere, there is an ever-growing consensus on the need for a negotiated epilogue to a war which, after two years, has left hundreds of thousands of dead and injured.

Moreover, the recent confirmation of the presence of the Al Qaeda terrorist network within groups fighting to defeat the executive and install an Islamic caliphate, is increasing fears of the advance and possible entrenchment of naked extremism, which could soon be knocking at the doors of Europe and the United States..

However, many analysts note that governments such as Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey who have banked everything on eliminating the thorn of Syria, one of the few secular states in the region, a defender of the Palestinian cause and strongly critical of Israeli expansionism, are persisting in arming opponents in order to foment chaos in this Levantine nation.

Damascus believes that the campaign around the possible use of chemical weapons seeks to increase pressure in the political, diplomatic and media spheres, given the impossibility of attaining the desired regime change, taking over its territory of geostrategic importance, and controlling its vast reserves of natural gas.

Syria has denied on reiterated occasions having access to such weapons and, on the contrary, is accusing mercenary groups of using them, as was the case on March 19 in the Khan al-Asal locality in the northern province of Aleppo, when a missile loaded with a toxic substance killed 25 people and wounded approximately 110.

While Syrian authorities immediately asked the United Nations to send in a team to investigate this incident, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded an extension of the investigation throughout national territory, an option rejected by Damascus, which considered it a manipulation of the issue and an assault on national sovereignty.

Given the lack of evidence to impute the Syrian government, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded an objective and impartial investigation into any event related to the alleged use of chemical weapons and called for a de-politicization of the issue.

However, the trumpets of war would seem to be poised to herald an invasion, bearing in mind that the Pentagon has dispatched 200 soldiers from the 1st Armored Tank Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, to the vicinity of the Jordan border with Syria.

The objective would be to plan possible military operations, including a rapid accumulation of U.S. forces, which could reach 20,000 troops if the White House decides an invasion is necessary, as the Los Angeles Times noted, citing senior U.S. officials.

Nevertheless, a recent survey by The New York Times and the CBS network revealed that 62% of Americans are opposed to military intervention in Syria, while General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, acknowledged that such a decision would be counterproductive in terms of ending the violence and achieving reconciliation in Syria. • (Orbe weekly)

Jamaica Patriot

Writing about the realities faced by the oppressed people across the world
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