John Kerry Warns Attack on Syria. He told the Washington Post that Syria’s use of chemical weapons is “undeniable” and this “international norm cannot be violated without consequences.” He didn’t say what kind of attack would be launched, but other media have said it likely would a short-term and symbolic assault. “Make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny.” He did not say when it would happen or offer any details. Russia has already said it would not seek to block the attack.
The Russian News Agency RIA Novosti quoted Kerry: “… we know the Syrian regime maintains custody of these weapons, has the capacity to do this with rockets, and is determined to clear the opposition from the very places where the attacks took place.” He said the United States has more information about the attack that it will “provide in the days ahead.”
The Wall Street Journal said Western intelligence had built up a network of forensic spies in Syria over the past six months. Their goal was to find evidence of the use of chemical weapons. A UN team assigned to investigate last week’s chemical weapons massacre was forced to turn back by sniper fire. Al-Jazeera said the team returned to its headquarters but made a second try and the six vehicles reached the site. The New York Times said no team members were hurt in their first attempt but their vehicles were not serviceable. News agency photos showed the team at work.
“The first vehicle of the investigation team was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer-zone area,” a UN spokesman said, adding that the car was no longer serviceable and a replacement vehicle was being obtained, according to Al-Jazeera. Regardless of who is responsible for these attacks, the Bashar al-Assad regime will be blamed.
The US and Britain have said it is already too late for reliable tests. Swiss chemical weapons expert agreed with MSF that the massacre likely was the result of the use of sarin. After delaying the tests for almost a week it was their responsibility to make sure they were completed.
This makes it more likely, as the London Mail Online said, that the US and allies will launch airstrikes, possibly cruise missiles, in retaliation for the Syrian regime’s “barbaric” behavior. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country would not become involved if there are air strikes. “We have no plans to go to war with anyone,” Lavrov said on Monday, according to Reuters.
MSF said 3,500 were wounded by the attacks, which experts said were most likely from rockets filled with sarin gas. An estimated 355 died. Assad has never signed the world treaty banning sarin and has a large storage unit of it. US and British intelligence say they have proof the gas was dropped by Assad’s regime.
In the two years of civil war it is believed at least 100,000 people have died. Russia has blocked any UN efforts to stop the fighting, just as it did in Kosovo. In the latter case, President Bill Clinton, regretting he had missed an opportunity to stop the genocide in Rwanda, launched a campaign of airstrikes against Serbia.