Hersh on Syria CWPosted: April 7, 2014
Seymour Hersh has written a new piece exploring the facts and politics of the crisis last August/September concerning chemical weapon attacks within Syria, and President Obama’s consideration of military strikes to enforce his “red line.” The piece is published in the London Review of Books. The piece makes for a fascinating read and, because it’s Hersh, will probably be quite influential.
According to Hersh’s narrative, the CW attack at Ghouta, which was the catalyst for the crisis, was perpetrated not by Syrian government forces, but by Syrian opposition forces allied with Turkey, and supplied with sarin gas munitions with the help of the Turkish government. This is a very provocative claim. To me, though, it makes a lot of sense. It never made sense to me that Assad would at that moment authorize the use of CW. It would have been a really stupid tactical decision, knowing as he must have that it would seriously ratchet up international pressure on him, and might lead to a potentially disastrous Western intervention – as compared to relatively low if any military advantage to be derived from the use of CW. But then when the UN report came out it seemed to, at least on the basis of circumstantial evidence, support the conclusion that the CW shells had come from regime positions.
So now I’m not really sure what to believe. Seems like more work needs to be done to really get to the bottom of what happened. Although, with the passage of time and a war still going on, further clarity on the facts may be elusive.