Was the Syria Chemical Weapons Probe “Torpedoed” by the West?
Yes, but why?
Adam Larson shared his information at Global Reasearch -
Since the perplexing conflict in Syria first broke out two years ago, the Western powers’ assistance to the anti-government side has been consistent, but relatively indirect. The Americans and Europeans lay the mental, legal, diplomatic, and financial groundwork for regime change in Syria. Meanwhile, Arab/Muslim allies in Turkey and the Persian Gulf are left with the heavy lifting of directly supporting Syrian rebels, and getting weapons and supplementary fighters in place.
The involvement of the United States in particular has been extremely lackluster, at least in comparison to its aggressive stance on a similar crisis in Libya not long ago. Hopes of securing major American and allied force, preferrably a Libya-style “no-fly zone,” always leaned most on U.S. president Obama’s announcement of December 3, 2012, that any use of chemical weapons (CW) by the Assad regime – or perhaps their simple transfer – will cross a “red line.” And that, he implied, would trigger direct U.S. intervention. This was followed by vague allegations by the Syrian opposition – on December 6, 8, and 23 – of government CW attacks.  Nothing changed, and the allegations stopped for a while.
However, as the war entered its third year in mid-March, 2013, a slew of new allegations came flying in. This started with a March 19 attack on Khan Al-Assal, a contested western district of Aleppo, killing a reported 25-31 people. Dramatic imagery run by state news agency SANA and from a Reuters photographer showed people – including children – suffering breathing problems, some already deceased. The Syrian government and related sources were the first to report it, blaming “terrorists” as usual. In an equally predictable answer, rebels accused the Syrian military of launching the attack. 
Syria demanded an investigation into the event by the United Nations, and everyone else agreed. A team was assembled, but then in early April Syria blocked them, for reasons that come across as mysterious. Soon, the world was hearing unprecedent recognition that perhaps Obama’s “red line” had been crossed – not by “terrorists” but by the Assad regime – somewhere, at some times since December. The deadly nerve agent sarin is increasingly specified for reasons that aren’t entirely clear.
All this has kicked off a renewed drive for intervention based on intelligence assessments of WMD dangers, evoking widely-noted memories of the bogus U.S. case for war on Syria’s ally Iraq one decade ago. Although the latest developments cast doubt on the imminence of outright military involvement – yet again – the danger persists, and the purported reasons deserve scrutiny.
It’s only been six weeks since this saga began, but they were weeks of the whirlwind sort. Considering where all the twirling has left us – horribly confused, if not on the brink of war – I offer this article towards unspinning the record to discover just what happened in that time.
Three Highlighted Chemical Weapons Allegations
At the start of the six weeks was the March 19 incident in Khan al-Assal, Aleppo and Syria’s dramatic charges over it. But before considering that or the investigation saga, it might be useful to briefly outline the three reported attacks forced now into question, as they are confused. The investigation model now prevailing, first prposed by the Bristish and French governments on March 21, involved three incidents singled out; Khan al-Assal and a same-day incident in the Damascus area, as well as another one in the city of Homs, on December 23, 2012. 
The opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC), drawing on front-line fighters, reported the incident at Otaybah (Ateiba) near Damascus, in their daily summary of March 19. (interestingly, this mentions two CW incidents, while failing to mention the Aleppo incident. In its place they mentioned a possible gas attack in Baba Amr, Homs, which no one else has repeated since).  The LCC said “fierce shelling with chemical rockets targeted Ateibeh town today,” causing “a large number” of people to suffer breathing problems, nausea, and “hysteria,” as well as causing the death of some “martyrs.”  The number of fatalities is not stated, here or anywhere easily found. Otaybah is reported to have been a rebel-held area, but very near Syrian military positions, adding plausibility to the report. Also of interest is that SANA and the Syrian government had nothing immediately to say on the incident there.
There would be further CW allegations in the east Damascus suburbs: Aadra March 24, Jobar April 6, and Otaybah again April 9, at least. All came with some evidence but slim details, and are sure to increase interest in investigating there. One or more of these sites would allegedly yield soil samples with possible traces of sarin gas (see below).
The December Homs Attack listed in the Anglo-French letter was talked about at the time, in many dramatic news reports. A handful of videos from a clinic in the Al-Bayada district show patients gasping horribly for breath. All victims seem to be rebel fighters in civilian dress. The death toll was said to be six, with as many as 100 people exposed. People took this charge seriously, but it was dismissed by mid-January as not a CW attack.  CNN reported then on a State Department investigation that found it was probably a riot-control gas used in the wrong concentration. Further, CNN hear that Turkey also looked into this case “but found the claims to be unsubstantiated.”  The methodology was not explained, and the dismissal is not certain. Now the incident is back in the limelight, thought by the British and French to require urgent scrutiny.
Conflicting Urgencies at the U.N.: The Battle Over Scope
Sarin After the Failure: Confusion Yields to “Confidence”
Questioning the “Confidence”
Syria’s Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi seems at least reasonably justified in saying, as SANA reported on April 26, “the Western sides … want now to hide behind this “fabricated and false” talk ["that chemical weapons were used by the Syrian army in other areas"] to justify their silence on failing the investigation mission requested by Syria and to exonerate the terrorists.”  Al-Zoubi was speaking to RT, who quoted him as saying the West’s aims include, first, “to cover those who are really behind use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal,” where many or most of the dead were government soldiers.
And on that same day, there was an unconfirmed report from the Bazreh neighborhood of Damascus, that entrenched rebels gassed attacking army soldiers. Breaking News (Syria) reports medical sources for an unstated number of “martyrs, who have died due to inhalation of chemical gases,” which causes an exudation of “white substance from their noses and mouths.”
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