(ANTIMEDIA) Though Western media and the political establishment’s narrative has accepted the Syrian government’s responsibility for last week’s horrific chemical weapons attack in Idlib, Syria, some prominent voices are disputing their as-of-yet unsubstantiated certainty.
Russian President Vladimir Putin made a bold accusation this week, asserting the chemical attack in Syria was a false flag attempt intended to demonize Assad to ostensibly justify American intervention against the Syrian government. During a joint press conference in Moscow with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Putin said:
“President Mattarella and I discussed it, and I told him that this reminds me strongly of the events in 2003, when the US representatives demonstrated at the UN Security Council session the presumed chemical weapons found in Iraq. The military campaign was subsequently launched in Iraq and it ended with the devastation of the country, the growth of the terrorist threat and the appearance of Islamic State [IS, formerly ISIS] on the world stage.”
“We have reports from multiple sources that false flags like this one – and I cannot call it otherwise – are being prepared in other parts of Syria, including the southern suburbs of Damascus. They plan to plant some chemical there and accuse the Syrian government of an attack.”
Russia and Iran announced after the U.S. assault that they intend to respond to future attacks with force.
But as Russia condemns the attacks – and as Western media propagates the unproven claims by an anonymous U.S. official that Russia knew of the attack before it happened — the Kremlin is not alone in its suspicions.
After the chemical weapons attack last week, prominent Western leaders voiced their skepticism toward the official narrative.
Before Trump launched his airstrikes, former Rep. Ron Paul, who has long been a voice of opposition against military intervention, raised doubts about the likelihood Assad attacked his own people.
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” he said. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.”
Indeed, just days before the chemical weapons attack, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley made it clear the U.S. would no longer be pursuing regime change in Syria.
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad,” Paul observed. Haley switched her stance shortly after the attacks, claiming regime change is now a priority.
Ron Paul also pointed out that neoconservatives have been claiming Assad has been responsible for using poison gas on his own people, cautioning:
“It makes no sense, even if you were totally separate from this and take no sides of this and you were just an analyst, it doesn’t make sense for Assad under these conditions to all of the sudden use poison gasses,” Paul said. “I think it’s zero chance that he would have done this deliberately.”
Paul is not alone. Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie also openly questioned the established narrative that Assad was responsible, much to the surprise of CNN’s Kate Bolduan. “[F]rankly, I don’t think Assad would have done that. It does not serve his interests. It would tend to draw us into that civil war even further,” he said.
On the left, former Rep. Dennis Kucinich has also questioned the narrative. “We should have had an investigation here and then made a determination as to who was responsible,” he said on Fox News, also citing a 2013 chemical attack that was determined, in all likelihood, to be launched by Syrian rebels — not the Assad regime.
In a Facebook post, the outspoken non-interventionist pointed out the lack of a thorough investigation prior to Trump’s decision to launch airstrikes:
“There has been a rush to judgment over the origin of the chemical weapon attack in Idlib, Syria. Conclusions were drawn with no investigation, no gathering of evidence, no forensics, no independent international inquiry, only charges followed by military action. It is extraordinary that when anyone so much as asks for an investigation they are attacked politically. When a verdict is arrived at without facts how can we be sure?”
Similarly, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who has introduced legislation to stop the U.S. government from arming terrorist factions in Syria, expressed doubt over the apparent certainty Assad was responsible.“The fact remains that they have not brought that evidence before Congress,” she said of U.S. claims Assad carried out the attack. Still, she acknowledged:
“If President Assad is found to be responsible after an independent investigation for these horrific chemical weapons attacks, I’ll be the first one to denounce him, to call him a war [criminal] and to call for his prosecution in the International Criminal Court.”
But her willingness to condemn Assad when the allegations are proven is not enough for the political establishment. Liberal and Democratic leaders have been calling on her base in Hawaii to vote her out of office over her dissenting opinion. A majority of senators support the airstrikes.
The United States must produce evidence to justify its strikes. But Putin, too, should be expected to produce proof that developments in Syria are the result of a false flag operation. Still, until these openly corrupt and hypocritical governments can provide evidence of their claims, it’s safe to say military violence should not be the first course of action.