Since about a month ago, when the Obama administration pointed to the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime in Syria to gas hundreds - the figure was eventually put at thousands - of civilians, including children, to death, there has been two conspiracy theories brewing up among the Assad apologists in the media: first, they claimed that no proof existed that chemical weapons were actually used, and more loudly they claimed that even if they were, no proof existed that the weapons were used by the Assad government. Today, the United Nations weapons inspection team released its preliminary report, putting the first, and also likely the second, questions to rest.
The UN called the large scale use of chemical weapons, namely, sarin gas, a war crime. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations, briefed the Security council.
Mr Ban said 85% of the blood samples tested positive for sarin.But but but! This doesn't mean the Assad government used them! It could just be the rebels that used it! The UN report, while not clearly stating who the responsible party for the attack is, provides a preponderance of evidence for those willing to ponder it. For example, they also confirmed the delivery vehicle and the area where the attacks were launched from:
He said: "On the basis of its analysis, the mission concluded that it - and I quote - 'collected clear and convincing evidence that surface-to-surface rockets containing the nerve agent sarin were used in the Ein Tarma, Moadamiyah and Zalmalka in the Ghouta area of Damascus.'"
The delivery vehicle was a variant of the M14 artillery rocket, fired from an unspecified region to the north-west.The Obama administration had previously released a map of the attacks, which I present for the reader's convenience:
The area to the north-west of the areas of impact, as you can see, is controlled by the Assad regime.
In Syria, only the regime is in possession of these surface-to-surface rockets (rebels have surface-to-air rockets, but not surface-to-surface ones, the type UN said was used in the chemical attack), and as media outlets have previously reported, the Obama administration's arming of the rebels has not included anything beyond light weapons an munitions. US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, pointed this out:
However, US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power, citing the high quality of the sarin used and the type of rocket, said: "The technical details make it clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale attack."The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria had something similar to say:
Earlier, Paulo Pinheiro, the chairman of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said the commission had been investigating 14 alleged chemical attacks since it began monitoring Syrian human rights abuses in September 2011.Gassing civilians would fall under crimes against humanity, under international law.
Mr Pinheiro said investigators had not so far been able to assign blame and were awaiting details from Monday's UN report.
He said the commission believed both President Assad's government and the rebels were responsible for war crimes, but that the regime alone had perpetrated crimes against humanity.
But this evidence is circumstantial, I can hear the naysayers. Sure, as is the evidence of a murder weapon with a defendant's fingerprints recovered from said defendant 5 minutes after a murder less than 30 feet away from the scene.
It wasn't the mission of the weapons inspectors to assign responsibility for the attack, but only to confirm the reality and the scale of the attack. The scale, they said, was huge - the largest such use against civilians since Saddam Hussein's use of chemical weapons in Halabja in 1988. As has been confirmed not just by the American, British, French and numerous other intelligence communities but also by human rights organizations, no entity in Syria, other than the government, had the ability to launch an attack of this scale, nor the delivery vehicles that the UN has now confirmed.
The evidence is overwhelming. It is crystal clear that the Assad regime was responsible for the attack. The only people denying Syrian culpability have now boiled down to Syria, Russia, and Putin's sudden-fans in the American media suffering from a severe case of Obama Derangement Syndrome.