A US government report concluding Syria has used chemical weapons against rebels, crossing what US President Barack Obama has previously described as a “red line,” is a fabrication, a senior Russian lawmaker said Friday.
“Information about the usage of chemical weapons by [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is fabricated in the same way as the lie about [Saddam] Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction [in Iraq],” Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian lower house of parliament’s international affairs committee, said on Twitter.
US intelligence reports presented to the UN and the international community prior to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 claimed Saddam Hussein’s regime possessed weapons of mass destruction including nerve agents, ballistic missiles and a nuclear weapons program. The US claimed the threat posed by those weapons justified the invasion of Iraq, but after the country was occupied, the alleged weapons of mass destruction were never found.
President Obama “is going the same way” as former President George W. Bush did then, Pushkov said.
The White House said on Thursday it now believes with “high confidence” that Syrian government forces have used chemical weapons many times during the two-year conflict there, and vowed to boost US aid to the armed opposition fighting to remove Assad from power.
White House Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama had decided to provide further support, including military support, for Syrian opposition forces as a result of its conclusion that government forces has used such chemical weapons.
Rhodes declined to clarify whether this support would entail providing arms to the Syrian opposition, but said US aid to armed opposition on the ground would differ greatly “in scope and scale” from assistance Washington had previously provided to the rebels. The US goal, Rhodes said, is to “strengthen their effectiveness.”
Syrian government officials have accused opposition forces of using chemical weapons against President Bashar Assad’s military in a March attack in outside of the northern city of Aleppo.
Some 93,000 people are believed to have died since fighting broke out between Syrian government forces and rebels in March 2011, according to the latest UN figures.
via US Chemical Weapons Report in Syria ‘Fabricated’ – Russian MP | Russia | RIA Novosti.
President Vladimir Putin’s foreign affairs adviser says Moscow is not convinced with Washington’s claim that Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against the opposition.
Yuri Ushakov told reporters Friday that the information provided by U.S. officials to Russia “didn’t look convincing.”
The White House said Thursday that the U.S. has conclusive evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons against opposition forces, crossing what President Barack Obama has called a “red line” that would trigger greater American involvement in the crisis. Obama’s deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Obama was planning to step up military assistance to Syrian rebels.
Ushakov warned that providing such assistance could derail efforts to convene a Syria peace conference.
Perhaps the Russians don’t have the same good data Obama has, the real proof. We do know that under W Bush the US lied (used known bad sources and claimed they were reliable) about chemical weapons, as a pretext for the Iraq war. How can we know if our government is doing that again? If the Syrian government really did use chemical weapons, where’s the evidence?