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International silence on suspected chemical weapons will embolden Assad

16 January 2013

Foreign Policy magazine published a remarkable story last night revealing that American diplomats have concluded that Bashar al-Assad probably used chemical weapons against his own people last month.

After speaking with activists on the ground, doctors, and key military defectors who previously played a role in the country’s WMD programme, one official concluded: ‘We can’t definitely say 100 percent, but Syrian contacts made a compelling case that Agent 15 was used in Homs on Dec. 23.’ (Activists uploaded this graphic video showing the effects on its victims).

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This would chime with other intelligence the Obama administration is receiving, particularly from Assad’s former spokesman Jihad Makdissi who defected last month and is now in America. Having been part of Assad’s inner circle he provided some of the most authoritative intelligence that the regime is preparing itself to use WMD.

Experts suggest that Agent 15 is one of the less harmful chemical warfare agents in Syria’s arsenal and that Assad is testing the extent to which he can push the international community. Both Obama and William Hague have long insisted that the use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’ they are not prepared to tolerate. Since the cable was written, however, no significant change in policy has been evident. This will only embolden Assad, and his brutal crackdown.

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Show comments
  • eeore

    After consulting with activists, doctors and defectors, “I can’t definitely say 100% that I have fairies at the bottom of the garden.”

    But it chimes in with intelligence reports I have received that the Russian pipeline to Europe is going better than the US backed one, half the world’s population – Russia and the Asian countries, plus others – have agreed to stop using the US dollar as the currency for bilateral trades, and that Syria was one of seven countries identified by the US, some years ago, for regime change.

    Breaking news…

    The fairies at the bottom of the garden have been seen holding hands and dancing around a clover ring… we are going live to our reporter at the bottom of the garden….

  • Fergus Pickering

    I think it is in our interest to support Assad and have him keep on cracking down. What is NOT in our interest is another mad muslim state.

  • Jebediah

    So we’re ok with Assad killing with guns and tanks and planes and stabbing weapons… but if he kills them with chemicals well that’s a more serious kind of death.
    However terrible it gets only downside awaits any kind of British intervention.

  • Daniel Maris

    Just because the Foreign Secretary has been taken in by the Muslim Brotherhood, doesn’t mean we have to.

    Once again Maher seems to be lining up behind the MB.

    Does he really, in his heart, believe that the Syrian rebels will protect Christians, allow them to express their religion and proselytise as they see fit? Does he think they will introduce a real democracy with free speech. free elections and handovers of power? Does he think the Syrian rebels will show tolerance towards gays and Islamic sects such as the Druze or Shia Muslims?


  • anyfool

    Shiraz Maher, you say nothing has happened about so called WMD, why should it, ” probably used” is not a valid reason to rain down high tech weapons on anyone, both sides in this supposed civil war are probably and in my opinion are equally degenerate scum.
    What has changed in the last 30 years when you and people like you were calling the West murderers for saving Muslims from Muslim mass killers like Saddam, now because you find your bands of murdering freedom fighters cannot kill your opponents quick enough you appeal to weak minded western government leaders to do mass murder for your particular side of these infantile religious arguments.
    The wars currently going on in the Muslim world are about religion not Democracy.

    • telemachus

      Dizziness or giddiness
      Failure to obey orders
      Erratic behavior
      Stumbling or staggering
      Drymouth (cottonmouth)
      Tachycardia at rest
      Elevated temperature
      Flushing of face
      Blurred vision
      Pupillary dilation
      Slurred or nonsensical speech
      Stupor and coma
      Inappropriate smiling or laughter
      Irrational fear
      Difficulty expressing self
      Elevated blood pressure
      Stomach cramps and vomiting
      Euphoric, relaxed, unconcerned attitude
      Hypotension and/or dizziness on sudden standing
      Clinging or pleading
      Seemingly reasonless crying
      Decrease in disturbance with reassurance

      • anyfool

        Are these the symptoms you suffer every time you write on here as that would explain your psychotic fawning over Balls.

        • telemachus

          The genius you mention was on good form at PMQ’s yesterday

  • J Marshall

    Maybe I’m just too unwiliing to believe, but I honestly watched that video and didn’t see anyone I thought was genuinely in distress. It looked to me like a lot of young men trying to look ill.

    • Hexhamgeezer


      The ‘journalists’ seemed a bit desperate and some of the alleged victims certainly did not display the outlined symptoms of Agents 15, particularly regarding pupil size. What is beyond doubt is that these chaps are Islamists and it is not that far fetched to think that they have had guidance or been inspired by their ‘Pallywood’ bretheren from Hamas.

      Inconclusive at best Mr Maher

  • Tom Tom

    Shiraz, Syria is so yesterday…get over to Mali

    • Daniel Maris

      Yes, I am looking forward to a penetrating analysis of the situation in Mali. “The only way to demonstrate a commitment to democracy and reassert Western power is to accede to the demands of the much misunderstood Islamist rebels.”

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