Middle East: Facts About the Alleged and Actual Usage of Chemical Weapons

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(NEO) The alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria has once again been used by Western media in a  propaganda war against Damascus and Moscow. And it’s no wonder, since we’ve been witnessing such claims on the regular basis made by all sorts of paid “activists” based in Washington and London. And the string of groundless accusations against Moscow and Damascus is only getting worse, as we are being told that Russian planes have been using chemical weapons in their strikes against ISIS in Syria. The last such wave of accusations was launched by Reuters and other Western media sources who announced that the representatives of the so-called Syrian Civil Defence claimed that an unknown aircraft dropped containers with poisonous gas near the crash site of the downed Russia’s Mi-8, which allegedly resulted in 30 men being exposed to the poisonous substance. Western journalists would note that the Syrian Civil Defence militants suspected it was chlorine but could not verify the type of gas used.

This disinformation campaign resembles a similar provocation that would be remembered as the “Ghouta chemical attack” amid the history of the Syrian war. This attack allegedly occurred on the night of August 21, 2013, when, during an offensive of pro-government forces, Western media sources began claiming that Assad’s soldiers used chemical weapons against radical militants. The purpose of that disinformation campaign was to get Western states directly engaged in military operations against Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad and his troops.

Just like in 2013, the claims of “some poisonous gas at the crash site of the Russian Mi-8″ are being distributed by the so-called Syrian opposition, which once again is attempting to use such measures to create preconditions for a US and NATO armed intervention in the Syrian conflict.

At the same time one cannot help but note that Washington has been deliberately ignoring the use of chemical weapons by the so-called “moderate opposition” that the White House has been vigorously defending in hope topple the government in Damascus. For example, the US State Department refrained from commenting on the use of chemical weapons by the Nur al-Din al-Zina group, which is considered a part of the “moderate opposition” by Washington. This chemical attack that was launched in the Aleppo outskirts resulted in 7 deaths and 23 being taken to hospitals with their respiratory tracts damaged.

So how could one explain such inconsistent policies implemented by the White House? It’s clear that it is trying to punish some players for alleged violations of the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction, while at the same ignoring facts of chemical attacks are being launched by non-state actors in Syria.

The answer to this question would be quite clear, if one takes a look at the desire of  US officials to put whistleblower Bradley Manning behind bars for life.  After all, among the documents Manning handed over to WikiLeaks, one can find facts implicating the Pentagon in supplying chemical weapons to various conflict zones and in Iraq in particular, where they’ve been put to use.

The documents that Manning handed over to WikiLeaks stated that the Pentagon has delivered at least 2,386 pieces of chemical ordnance to Iraq. This fact is mentioned in the 2,000 page-long report that was released by this portal, that lists over 1million units of ammunition, delivered to  US troops in Iraq.

Most of these chemical weapons, according to the classification adopted by NATO member states received the stamp “Chemical weapons and equipment” and were registered by the Chemical and Biological Center at the Edgewood Biological Laboratory in Maryland. The designated code M33A1 states that poison gas was shipped in special cylinders under high pressure, fit for carrying in backpacks.

It’s noteworthy that weeks before the start of the Iraq campaign, the US government was subjected to the extensive criticism by its principal ally – the United Kingdom. In response, the then US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld boldly announced that Washington may launch chemical attacks both in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Washington has been dead silent about the actual use of chemical weapons in those states, except for a single case which the US government initially denied, but then was forced to acknowledge the facts of the use of a chemical substance called white phosphorus during the brutal assault of Fallujah, although it is strictly prohibited by the Convention on the Use of Chemical Weapons.

One must add that NATO forces have also used ammunition with depleted uranium during the bombing campaign of Libya back in 2011, with subjected entire generations of Libyans to radiation poisoning.

While the White House works on finding a pretext for a direct military intervention in Syria, perhaps it’s time to officially recognize the war crimes related to the use of the chemical weapons by Washington itself, in violation of the Convention on the Use of Chemical Weapons? Since the arrest and the sentencing of Bradley Manning may serve as  confirmation that the documents he handed over to WikiLeaks were credibletherefore the US is guilty of actual usage of chemical weapons in violation of all international norms.

Jean Périer is an independent researcher and analyst and a renowned expert on the Near and Middle East, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”