Questions arise concerning chemical weapon assault assumption

More stories from Mauro Capriles Citti


On April 14th, a coalition of France, the United States, and the United Kingdom launched several military strikes in Syria as a response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the dictator of Syria, Bashar al-Assad. They have warned that further action is to come if Assad provokes the West again. Strikes against the Assad Regime in Syria should be stopped immediately.

Those in favor of the strikes say that it is the duty of Western nations to protect the civilians on the ground from the Assad regime’s cruelty as well as preventing Assad from using chemical weapons any further. However, this simple argument rests on a huge and unproven assumption: that it was Assad who used chemical weapons in Douma on April 7th.

The source for this claim are the White Helmets, an organization that is known for mounting several anti-Assad propaganda campaigns in the past. Independent journalists, such as Vanessa Beeley, consider them unreliable, and according to 21stcenturywire the group has connections to the rebel group Al-Nushra. Al-Nushra are Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.

However, let’s assume that a chemical attack did happen in Douma. Assad has no reason to do the one war crime that could possibly trigger Western action against him. Especially since, according to The Guardian, he handed over his chemical weapons several years ago to the Obama administration when they asked for them. Knowing of the red line that was placed by former President Obama and later maintained by President Trump, Assad has no reason to continue to manufacture chemical weapons, much less to actually deploy them against the rebels. As he knows, to do so would greatly harm his efforts to re-unify Syria and taking that course of action could possibly end in him being overthrown in Syria.

The rebels in Syria, on the other hand, would have much to gain if Assad were to use chemical weapons on them. So much, in fact, that they might be willing to fake a chemical attack. We know that the rebels have chemical weapons, as it was reported by the Washington Times, and we know that the remaining rebel forces in Syria are mostly hardline extremists and Jihadists, as it was reported on by the Telegraph, and we also know that the rebels were being bussed out of Douma in Eastern Ghouta at the time of the attack, as was reported by CNN. All of these facts would make it really convenient for the rebels to deploy a chemical weapon unto the civilians that they’ve kept trapped in Douma for decades without much danger to themselves, and since the Assad regime had yet to conquer Douma at the time, there would be no dissenting voices if they claimed that Assad had done the attack.

As such, the claim that Assad is the one doing chemical attacks on his people are dubious at best and outright false at worst. Since there is no solid proof that Assad did the chemical attacks, striking against his regime serves only in the interests of the rebels which are trying to overthrow him. Unless we want Syria to become an Islamic State, Assad has to remain in power, and in order to remain in power the West cannot attack his military assets.

There is a way to make sure that Assad nor the rebels use chemical weapons in the future in Syria, however. The United Nations could deploy a peace keeping task force that would make sure that no war crimes are committed against the people of Syria as the war wanes to a stop. That way, we could ensure the relative safety of civilians whilst also being able to reprimand the parties responsible for committing war crimes, and all of that without the need for direct intervention by the West.