Opinion
              US Secretary of State John Kerry touches his head with his hand during a joint press conference with Britain Foreign Secretary William Hague at Foreign Office in London, Monday, Sept. 9, 2013. Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday renewed U.S. allegations that Syria

The evidence for Syrian chemical weapons use crumbles

Photo of Kenneth Timmerman
Kenneth Timmerman
President, Foundation for Democracy in Iran
  • See All Articles
  • Subscribe to RSS
  • Bio

      Kenneth Timmerman

      Kenneth R. Timmerman is an investigative reporter, author, and President/CEO of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran. His books and an illustrated bio are available at KenTimmerman.com.

Now we learn that President Obama may be second-guessing his “decision’ to launch military action – that Secretary of State John Kerry insists is not “going to war” — to punish Syria for a chemical weapons attack the United States has not proved it carried out.

That is good news for the American servicemen and women who would be facing very real threats on a very real battlefield if the President did give the order to fight. For example, if the Russian spy ship Priazovye (SSV-201), now stationed in the Mediterranean, were to have used its high-power laser systems to blind American pilots flying toward Syria, would they become victims of “workplace violence,” like the victims of Fort Hood jihadist, Major Malik Hassan?

In classified hearings last week, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, was hard-pressed to justify unilateral U.S. military action, sources privy to the closed door sessions tell me.

As currently conceived by the President, U.S. military strikes would not significantly degrade Assad’s military, Gen. Dempsey admitted. And there was a “real possibility’ that our actions would widen the conflict, bringing in Iran and Russia and involving Israel.

Now the White House is soft-peddling its so-far unsupported claims that the Syrian regime was responsible for the August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in a suburb of Damascus.

With the 13-minute compilation of YouTube videos the administration presented before the Senate Select Committee on intelligence last Thursday – and provided to CNN on Sunday – the Obama administration is now resorting to a “hearts and minds” campaign with the American public.

We are now supposed to launch military strikes on Syria based on a guilty conscience. Or as Secretary Kerry told the Senate Foreign Relations committee last week, because if we fail to act, who knows what bad things Assad will do in the future.

The administration’s case for limited military strikes against Syria is falling apart even before President Obama has spoken to the American people.

Shortly after the August 21 attack, the United States claimed it had “high confidence” that the Syrian regime was responsible for the slaughter. Reinforcing that view were YouTube videos posted by opposition sources showing fragments of rockets that were of a kind used only by Syrian government forces, not the rebels.

But intelligence reports from French and Jordanian military intelligence show that the jihadist al-Nusra front rebels acquired similar rockets and chemical agents earlier this year when they overran a chemical weapons depot in Aleppo on May 17 and captured a rocket unit in Daraa now long afterward, sources privy to the intelligence tell me.

Those intelligence reports concluded there was a strong likelihood the rebels had carried out the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attacks either deliberately or by accident.