Obviously Assad’s propagandists have no credibility, but the reason this claim is interesting is because of the way it dovetails with the Iraqi and Turkish seizure of Al Qaeda chemical warfare facilities.
Syria’s deputy foreign minister said on Wednesday that the United States, Britain and France helped “terrorists” use chemical weapons in Syria, and that the same groups would soon use them against Europe.
Speaking to reporters outside the Four Seasons hotel in Damascus, Faisal Maqdad said he had presented U.N. chemical weapons inspectors with evidence that “armed terrorist groups” had used sarin gas in all the sites of alleged attacks.
“We repeat that the terrorist groups are the ones that used (chemical weapons) with the help of the United States, the United Kingdom and France, and this has to stop,” he said. “This means these chemical weapons will soon be used by the same groups against the people of Europe,” he added.
The last paragraph has been widely taken to mean that the attacks were carried out with direct Western aid, but he may simply mean that the West is helping the groups responsible.
Back in June, Iraqi authorities claimed that they broke up an Al Qaeda plot to use Sarin domestically and against the US and Europe.
Authorities in Iraq say they have uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to use chemical weapons, as well as to smuggle them to Europe and North America.
Three workshops for manufacturing the chemical agents, including sarin and mustard gas, were uncovered, he added.
Remote-controlled toy planes were also seized at the workshops. Mr Askari said they were to have been used to release the chemical agents over the target from a “safe” distance of 1.5km (1 mile)
Al Qaeda in Iraq is basically the same group as the Al Nusra Front in Syria. Iraq is currently allied with Syria. But lending a certain amount of credibility to its claims, the Iraqi government put in a huge order for chemical weapons gear suggesting that they are expecting to have to fight a civil war with chemical weapons. That would fit nicely with Al Qaeda in Iraq’s plans.
While I would normally dismiss 80% of Syrian government propaganda, in this case it is plausible that Al Qaeda has Sarin and has used it and is planning to deploy it eventually against Western targets as well.
That doesn’t mean that Assad didn’t also use chemical weapons. It’s quite possible and even probable that he did. But he was using them within the context of a civil war in which both sides were using them.
That’s the kind of war Iraq is preparing for. That’s the kind of war Syria is already in. We may want to pay attention because before too long, it may be the kind of civil war that Europe is in.