Report: Assad denied requests to use Chemical weapons

One week after the August 21st Chemical weapons attack in Syria, news broke that intercepted calls proved the Syrian Army used nerve gas. Now, intercepted calls reveal a completely different story. These intercepts indicated that Assad repeatedly denied requests to use Chemical weapons.

Assad: One more point for me.

Assad: One more point for me.

Via McClatchy:

Syrian President Bashar Assad has repeatedly rejected requests from his field commanders for approval to use chemical weapons, according to a report this weekend in a German newspaper.

The report in Bild am Sonntag, which is a widely read and influential national Sunday newspaper, reported that the head of the German Foreign Intelligence agency, Gerhard Schindler, last week told a select group of German lawmakers that intercepted communications had convinced German intelligence officials that Assad did not order or approve what is believed to be a sarin gas attack on Aug. 21 that killed hundreds of people in Damascus’ eastern suburbs.

The Obama administration has blamed the attack on Assad. The evidence against Assad was described over the weekend as common sense by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Would it not stand to reason that if a rogue General did launch the weapons – based on this report – he would already have been disciplined (shot)?

This doesn’t square with a report from about one week after the attack that asserted proof that “panicked” calls unearthed “proof” that the Assad regime was responsible. Again, if the “panicked” calls between a senior official with the Assad regime and a subordinate leader at a Chemical weapons unit revealed a rogue Assad regime operator, why has no one been identified?

Via Foreign Policy:

…in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with a leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people. Those conversations were overheard by U.S. intelligence services, The Cable has learned. And that is the major reason why American officials now say they’re certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar al-Assad regime — and why the U.S. military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days.

To this point, neither the Obama administration nor any leaders who have maintained that Syria’s Bashar al-Assad used Chemical weapons on August 21st has presented any evidence to support their claims. One such leader – British Prime Minister David Cameron – even admitted as much while making his case to Parliament.

Conversely, evidence that the attack was levied by the rebels has come in the form of video, images, and on-the-ground reporting by the likes of Dale Gavlak and specifically sourced accounts, via Yossef Bodansky.

An interesting excerpt from the McClatchy report is worth relating:

David Butter, a Syria expert with the British think tank Chatham House, called the German intelligence “an interesting distraction, but nothing more right now.”

“To build a case that Assad had no role in the use of chemical weapons, we’d need a lot more evidence,” he said. “And, of course, as head of state, if a war crime has been committed by his regime, he is ultimately responsible.”

Obviously, Mr. Butler thinks that Assad should be held accountable for the actions of rogue subordinates. We have a question for Mr. Butler.

Does the same apply to Barack Obama?


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