Syria to allow UN inspect ‘chemical weapon’ attack site – BBC


"The Syrian government has agreed to allow UN inspectors to visit the site of a suspected chemical weapon attack outside Damascus, state media report.
The move came shortly after a senior US official told reporters there was "very little doubt" that a chemical weapon had been used by government forces.
Activists say Syrian forces killed more than 300 people in several suburbs east and west of the capital on Wednesday.
The Syrian authorities have denied any responsibility and blamed "terrorists".
On Saturday evening, US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron agreed that there should be a "serious response" if Syrian troops had used chemical weapons.
But Syria's information minister warned that US military intervention would bring chaos and that the Middle East would "burn".
Omran Zoabi told Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen TV the Syrian state and its armed forces remained strong, with friends and allies in the region.
"  BBC


Well, there you have it.  The Syrian government will place no obstacle in the way of the UN investigators in finding out what happened.  The area is in rebel hands. 

IMO this willingness to facilitate the UN mission's findings will have little effect.

"The train has left the station" in a media and political campaign for what is imagined will be an easy win against Syria.  pl

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58 Responses to Syria to allow UN inspect ‘chemical weapon’ attack site – BBC

  1. Fred says:

    I cant’ wait to see what the left does when their hero Obama starts another war using the same tools as were used by the neocons and GWB. I am certain we will see their true principles in action then.

  2. Peter C says:

    Some of the level headed Generals and Admirals, must be dreading this, but the Spotlight on the Navy has not been too bright in the last 12 years, except for Libya. Good chance to deploy those Billion Dollar tin cans throwing Cruz Missiles. Can’t forget the Subs also showing their usefulness. Strut your stuff if you’ve got it! It’s human nature to show what you can do.
    What is the plan besides shooting a couple of hundred Cruz Missiles at $1.5 million dollars a copy? Get rid of the older Missiles out of the inventory to stock newer versions?
    What I can see happening immediately is the Russians shutting down the ingress and egress to Afghanistan, through any routes the control or influence. The Pakistanis’ must be counting the extra $$ they will be able to extract in a movement tax.

  3. par4 says:

    Fred; A Liberal in a designer “Che” T-shirt is not a Leftist.

  4. The Twisted Genius says:

    What you are witnessing is no principle other than my side right or wrong. It is pure tribal loyalty and hatred/fear of the other. This attitude is not limited to leftist or rightists. It’s the reason many Republicans view their sole legislative purpose is to destroy Obama even if it damages the country in the process. It’s why Democrats defend Obama’s shredding the 4th Amendment and near total disregard of the 2nd Amendment.

  5. 505thpir says:

    “The train has left the station” and I might add that there will be no “off-switch” for what is to follow. There will surely be a response from “the others”, and a required response to that….and into the sucking mud we shall wiggle away.

  6. Babak Makkinejad says:

    A Leftist is a person who does not profess a semi-religious faith in the “Free Market” but in the “People” (“The Collective”).
    A Rightist is a person who does profess a blind-faith in the operations of the Free Market.
    And then there is the rest of us in between two Utopias.
    Case in point:
    Can a woman rent her vagina?
    Can she rent her womb?
    Can she auction her eggs?
    Leftist and Rightist only disagree on the modalities of such transactions and not the substance – in my opinion.

  7. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    I hope you are wrong about “the train having left…”.

  8. GulfCoastPirate says:

    First of all Obama is no one’s ‘hero’ on the left. I’m not sure why you folks ever thought that. He was better than those he ran against and that’s about it.
    Second, if he attacks Syria then he belongs in adjoining cells to the neocons and GWB. Oh wait, the neocons and GWB aren’t jailed. Why do you think Obama didn’t prosecute any of them? Do you not think his handlers told him he may have to do the same thing and do you not think the ‘left’ realized this way back when there were no prosecutions?

  9. robt willmann says:

    The finger — not of Syria — is starting to curl around the trigger.
    Today, 25 August, the Wall Street Journal reports that, “The Obama administration said Sunday it believed Syria used chemical weapons in an offensive last week around Damascus and rebuffed the Assad regime’s offer to provide U.N. inspectors access to the affected areas, saying the move came too late to be credible.”
    Just like in the runup to the Iraq invasion of 2003 and the avalanche of false pretenses, it is deja vu all over again.
    Will the inspections occur? Since it will be in territory held by “rebels”, who will be interviewed, what will be examined, has the scene been tampered with?

  10. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    I have heard you have misgivings about the US heading in this direction re:Iran for a few years.
    On the one hand, a little war, could appeal to a president whose domestic agenda is crashing and burning. Not sure why it would bring out the young voters in the midterms who are unhappy with the US need to collect their every facebook post and tweet (filled with meaning).
    On the other hand, would Dempsey have spoken against Syrian Intervention just a few days ago if he had not had encouragement from above?
    On the other other hand, the US economy is fragile (for the 1%, its a depression for the rest) and if the effort is prolonged, it greatly risks tanking the economy close to the magical 9 months before the midterms (the US economy is a tanker that takes about 9 months to change directions from Fed efforts).
    So, if you were to assign probabilities, how high would you say the syria-ometer is? My thought is 30% as he has done well to avoid the drumbeat for war with Iran despite significant media and political pressure.
    Snark Alert: At least once the US installs Al Q in Syria, the hypocrisy of the war on terror will be overt – or at least our incoherence. Or we will have demonstrated Orwell truly prescient.

  11. turcopolier says:

    You heard that, eh? I guess that is not surprising since I have been writing about it for a long time. IMO if Bashar Assad had succeeded in reaching an agreement with Israel the media and congress would think of him as a harsh but necessary presence. The neocons in the Bush Administration blocked that possibility. It would not be “a little war.” As Dempsey insists in private the civilian fantasy of “surgical strikes” with small numbers of guided missiles would fail to bring down Assad’s government. This “affront” to imperial dignity and reputation would require escalation and then yet more escalation. Where this “ladder” would lead is incalculable. IMO the issue is not altogether decided by the president as yet or it was not a few days ago. In that circumstance a man of Dempsey’s character, having just been re-confirmed by the senate, would feel able to speak out. As soon as the president decides for war Dempsey will fall silent. The fragility of the US economy is undoubtedly a factor in Obama’s thinking but it is only one factor. Surely you are not a devotee of the economic determinist nonsense? I would place the probability of strikes on Syria at around 55%. pl

  12. Fred says:

    I seen exactly what you speak of amongst the rank and file party activists on both sides that I know. Encouraged, I might add, by their political leaders. Ironic, isn’t it?
    My fear is the direction the elites are taking this country (not just this war). As the host alluded to a few times in the past it is looking more and more like the end period of the old Roman Republic where the Senatorial class was more concerned with their wealth, estates and the acquisition and maintenance of more of the same, with a few amongst them maneuvering for the control of the instruments of power. The people below increasingly lost what influence in governance that they had previously held. (not that it was anywhere near our level now) The Principate seems a short step away, its creation enabled by the aristocracy of money and corporate and media sycophants.

  13. jonst says:

    I heard–and I am still shaking my head–Senator Corker say on Sunday talking heads that ‘…that the info coming out on the ‘social media’ sites indicates that the Syrian Govt was behind the WMD attacks”. And with this proof in hand…his next words implied, we should retaliate. And this is supposed to be a senior Senator from the sane wing of the GOP? As cynical as I am…I shook my head as if I was having an audio hallucination. Social Media sites??!!
    Perhaps I will send the good Senator this link:
    I just read this article and viewed his seminar on the subject as well. I repeat what I said on my last post…this has now become an existential issue for Hezbollah…we could find ourselves in a very, very, ugly mess.

  14. walter says:

    Idealistic Left such as myself are and have been very disappointed with Obama as he is not much different than Bush. Pragmatic Left will just shrug and say at least he is not as bad as Bush.
    The major question I have is, what are the goals/objectives driving this anti-Syria policy? What is really going on behind the scenes in our government?
    Is it all driven by anti-Iran, anti-Hezbollah, pro-Israel? Or is this an attempt to allow Europe to have another competing source of gas from Qatar with pipeline through Syria?

  15. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I wonder if the charade of Peace Talks between Israelis and Palestinians was part of the preparations for war against Syria?

  16. turcopolier says:

    “that the info coming out on the ‘social media’ sites indicates that the Syrian Govt was behind the WMD attacks” Incredible. I guess Dempsey is not plugged into the social media. pl

  17. turcopolier says:

    A glance at a map will reveal that there are many hundred miles of Iraqi and Saudi territory between Syria and Qatar. Is it your thesis that the Saudis would look with favor on the construction through their territory of a pipeleine for Qatar’s gas to compete with their own exports if only there was a non-Alawi government in Syria? Do you think that the present Syrian government would not like to be the host of such a pipeline passing through Syria to Lattakia? Why is the US pursuing such a policy? This has nothing to do with economics. The neocons (still on hand and pitching in Congress) and the R2P witches believe this is a good and wonderful thing to do in order to rid the world of a non-existent threat from the Assad government. pl

  18. walter says:

    But what was Assad doing that was so bad? Certainly Assad was not threatening the world. Support of Hezbollah?

  19. eakens says:

    No, but apparently a long term lease is acceptable.

  20. turcopolier says:

    Yes. Wolfowitz and pals but especially he conceived a great hatred for the Ba’ath government because it did not seek a rapprochment with Israel under Bashar’s father. When Bashar took over the hatred continued in spite of Bashar’s efforts to seek some sort of understanding with the Bushies and later the Obama Administration. A number of people were asked to approach the NSC asking for an attempt to make an agreement. At one point i was in Israel and a former head of IDF general staff intelligence asked me tell the NSC that Israel needed peace with Syria and that senior officers in IDF would back this. I got the brush off from the “thirty somethigs and the witches.” pl

  21. walrus says:

    Via Zerohedge, there is a report on the web of 24 Jan 2013 that states that British Defence contractor Britam had its servers hacked that day and that one of the emails contained an invitation to the firm to provide a Libyan/Soviet era chemical weapon shell for use in a false flag operation in Syria.
    The links to the story and the alleged documents are below. The story is unverifiable however it appears that “someone” has gone to great lengths to remove the posted source documents from the web. I regard this as unusual.
    We do not know if Britam accepted this alleged contract either.
    Email text:
    “The leaked emails, obtained by a hacker in Malaysia, feature an exchange (click here for screenshot) between Britam Defence’s Business Development Director David Goulding and the company’s founder Philip Doughty;
    We’ve got a new offer. It’s about Syria again. Qataris
    propose an attractive deal and swear that the idea is approved by
    We’ll have to deliver a CW to Homs, a Soviet origin
    g-shell from Libya similar to those that Assad should have. They want us to deploy our Ukrainian personnel that should speak Russian and make a video record.
    Frankly, I don’t think it’s a good idea but the sums proposed are enormous. Your opinion?
    Kind regards
    News of the hack:
    Documents – can be accessed via googling Cryptome and Britam – most of the links report that the files have been removed which in itself is unusual.
    As a footnote, isn’t the simplest explanation for Britain, France and perhaps Americas interest in destroying the Assad regime that the Saudis are prepared to pay very large sums of money to the politicians involved? Didn’t they try to bribe Russia?

  22. Tigershark says:

    With perhaps the exception of Bernie Sanders, there is no left in America.

  23. walter says:

    PL, thnks for the explanation…would you mind summarizing the basic philosophies of the witches, thirty-somethings, Neocons, and whatever else NAME foreign policy philosophies exist out there?
    May I take a shot at it first (and Im sure Im way oversimplifying and overgeneralizing but whatever):
    witches: Powers, Rice, Clinton- intervene in all humanitarian injustices, promote democracy, support popular uprisings (and of course, support Israel
    thirty-somethings: I have no clue except, of course, support Israel
    Neocons: spread democracy, protect Israel, secure safe access to oil reserves

  24. jonst says:

    You could have knocked me over with a feather when I heard Corker this AM. Yes, thank god for Dempsey….it sure does make a difference Col, when one’s men, one’s institution, one’s cultural, is the one doing the actual bleeding, and dying.

  25. A says:

    Witches would be a compliment for those pretentious cows.

  26. Babak Makkinejad says:

    That is acceptable as marriage in both Islam and in Judaism is a contract between the man and the woman; neither collectivism nor markets.

  27. Fred says:

    You don’t know enough Ann Arbor liberals. I helped a number of them on a variety of political campaigns since moving here in ’03. Few have changed. The same is true for the ones I know in other states. Maybe Houston is different. Why didn’t he prosecute any of the neocon? 1) lack of principles 2) He was a junior Senator with no real political base of support, just money and charisma; thus he’s got no real solid support in Congress.

  28. CK says:

    I remember how Eisenhower defused the Suez crisis in 1956, sometimes old ex-generals did what is in the American Interest.
    I remember how Johnson handled the attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, bending the knee to the new managers of the USA, and doing what was in their best interests.
    11 years to fall so far and so cravenly. 46 years to remain prostrate; doing the bidding of a hostile minority.
    It has taken a while, but I finally think I understand ( at least partially) why Nixon had to be neutered by the hostile media, and why Eisenhower’s defense of America’s interests had to be negated by the matured Trotskyites.
    The Marines that held “joint defensive exercises” with the Jordanian military a few weeks ago are still on the Syrian border, waiting the go. The naval assets are awaiting a chance to use the old stuff and achieve funding for new whiz-bangs.
    Of nations, this I believe: “Stupidity cannot be cured. Stupidity is the only universal capital crime; the sentence is death. There is no appeal, and execution is carried out automatically and without pity.” Robert Anson Heinlein.
    The USA used to be not-stupid.

  29. Alba Etie says:

    Col Lang
    I just do not see President Obama attacking Syria in any form . But on the other hand its being reported by several new outlets that large shipments of ‘heavy weapons ‘ are being shipped very recently to the FSA via Turkey . I still think even if this is true – that the heavy weapons will only delay the inevitable Assad victory in Syria . We shall see.

  30. Alba Etie says:

    We seriously need to consider a third party .

  31. mac says:

    the Guns of August?

  32. Alba Etie says:

    Wolfowitz , Cambone , Feith , & Rumsfeld et al ginning up the get Saddam rhetoric , and with the VP “Darth Vader ” Cheney reaching deep down directly in the CIA to cook the books on Iraq . I still believe that the neocons fever has about run its course – and we are witnessing a walk back from the chemical weapons red line screed.

  33. Alba Etie says:

    And Assad Sr also was very helpful in rolling up AQ cells in Germany & elsewhere shortly after the Twin Towers fell .

  34. VietnamVet says:

    I agree, this is the prelude to the Iraq Invasion, being played out, all over again.
    Maybe, a senior Army General will publicly say that the Syrian invasion requires 200,000 troops; will be forced to retire and will take over the VA in the next administration.
    Strange; no one says that intervening in the middle of a Sunni Shiite Jihad stretching from Beirut to Karachi will take a million American boys and girls on the ground, require the Draft and the war will last for decades.
    Generals know on which side bread is buttered. What is best for Americans doesn’t enter the calculations anymore.

  35. kao_hsien-chih says:

    “Rice” could refer to both the Republican and the Democrat, who are, basically, same people…

  36. seydlitz89 says:

    Col Lang-
    Sir, thank you for this post.
    I fear the usual American assumptions play a significant role in this great avoidable disaster . . . still I’m saying to myself, “kick the can down the road, kick the can down the rode . . .”

  37. tunde says:

    Edward who ?
    The extent of the blatant co-ordination between the Elysee Palace, Downing Street and the ‘Dept of Witchery’ (thanks PL), in this sprint to war is embarrassing in it’s brazeness. The Telegraph (always reliably pro-govt/business unless it concerns fox-hunting) has switched from batting back against the smorgasbord of revelations from the Snowden/Independent buffet to an ominous headline of ‘too little, too late’ re Syrian UN inspectors. Wee Willie Hague has’nt much to say about 1,000 being killed in Egypt or Zimbabwe’s election, but he’s got into his ‘ten pints’ mode over Syria. Does’nt Frankie Hollande look all butch too, trying to create red lines and forcing DC’s hand ?
    I’m gobsmacked. The elites in London, DC and Paris will win this battle (too many people watching some new reality show and trying to keep their jobs) but they’ll lose the war. There’s a slowly dawning global consciousness that the system is rigged. There just has’nt been a tipping point event. Yet.

  38. ISL says:

    Dear Colonel,
    I do not believe in economic determinism as I dont believe in (the religion of) economics. However, I do believe in accounting, which I try to understand better.
    I believe that if one goes into hock at a rate of half a trillion a year with ones major intnl competitor (China), prints (oops QE) a trillion a year (6% GDP, so why is the US not growing at 6% at least?), puts largely unregulated banks in control of the economy – oh right, that’s where the 6% goes, well, I believe that eventually the piper shows up. If furthermore one spends trillions on wars of no clear national (US not another nation) interest . . . . the Ottoman’s (and others) have done that experiment – it generally at best ends poorly.
    In general, there is a statistically documented “bump” in the US economy a few months before elections that results from pump economy perk-up efforts ~6-9 months prior through front loading contracts, buildup of federal inventories, Fed easing, etc., etc. The effect lasts ~a quarter and generally is followed by a shallow trough – net overall effect is zero. However, it creates positive economic number talking points for the party in power to argue things are getting better, please don’t throw us out.
    Hence it is preferable is economic shocks occur at anytime other than 6-9 months before an election – assuming the shock is predictable and avoidable – oil shocks being among the most difficult to predict (unless you are G-Sachs and can just engineer it). US intervention in Syria, IMO, is a predictable shock and we are closing in on the 6-9 months before the midterm elections.
    January would have been a far better time to bomb bomb bomb, other than it being a spectacularly bad choice. Plus if the intervention goes bad, 6-9 months has Bengazi-like congressional investigations ongoing during the election season.

  39. turcopolier says:

    Yes. The establishment in “this town’ is incompetent. pl

  40. GulfCoastPirate says:

    In your world ‘liberals’ are defined by the city where they live? That’s pretty funny.
    He didn’t prosecute anyone because of a lack of principles? I would say it was just the opposite. He had a lot of principles but they were never liberal. He’s a corporate shill – same thing he’s always been. He got lucky because the people he ran against were so odious even people like the good colonel voted for him. Think how bad off we would all be if McCain or Romney had been elected.

  41. GulfCoastPirate says:

    Which ‘liberals’ are defending Obama’s ‘shredding of the 4th Amendment’? I know a lot of liberals and I don’t know a single one defending him.

  42. Bill H says:

    We seriously need to consider revolution.

  43. JohnH says:

    A couple interesting tidbits from As-Safir:
    “Diplomatic sources expected a new shift in the multifaceted Syrian conflict, while it may not be devoid of a military escalation, but in a way to pave the political process that can be contained in the forthcoming Geneva Conference.” [Google translate and mine.]
    Also, any US attacks would include Jubhat al-Nusra, whose leader promised an “in-kind” response to the Ghouta chemical attack.

  44. Bill H says:

    I think you underestimate the monetary effect of war; not for the working man, perhaps, but for the stock market, which is sagging rather badly at the moment. War means profits, and we have too many wars winding down.
    The only institution which does not profit from and does not want war is the serving military and veterans.

  45. walrus,
    For what it is worth, the MailOnline reported the story, and then published a retraction and apology.
    (See )
    Irrespective of the truth or falsehood of the specific claims, a general issue raised is whether the shells which the Syrian Army uses are in fact of Soviet origin, and whether identical shells could be obtained by people anxious to mount a ‘false flag’ operation.
    As to corruption, I think it is likely to be more insidious than direct payoffs to key political figures. There are complex networks of links, prominently involving private security companies like Britam, which connect people in Britain with people in the Gulf, and the United States – also sometimes the former Soviet space. These private security companies provide comfortable and lucrative ‘berths’ for former military and intelligence figures, and also politicians.
    One effect may be to build inertias into the system – for example, making re-examination of the wisdom of current policy towards Syria and Iran more difficult.
    Another could be to facilitate the construction of sophisticated transnational ‘information wars’ operations, whose transnational nature makes it difficult for people in the target countries (primarily the U.S., in this instance), to see they are being manipulated.

  46. walter,
    Have a look at the website of the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard, and in particular the bios of the faculty.
    (See )
    Samantha Power was the founding executive director of the center, and serves as Anna Lindh Professor of Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy there.

  47. fatsamurai says:

    Assad warns failure awaits US military intervention in Syria
    Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has dismissed as politically motivated western allegations that he used chemical weapons and warned Washington that any US military intervention would fail, in an interview published in a Russian newspaper on Monday.

  48. Harper says:

    Col. Lang: Your “Drinking the Kool-Aid” was the most indepth account of the campaign of lies that led to the Iraq fiasco. Is there any prospect that the switch can be pulled on the train leaving the station at this late moment? General Dempsey is clearly opposed 100 percent to war and has warned that even a single cruise missile strike is an act of war and at that point, there is no turning back. I wonder if the hysteria on the part of David Cameron and PM Erdogan is over the fact that the “realists” in the current US government have severe misgivings about ANY military action drawing in the US. Obama, ever the narcissist, is first and foremost concerned for his legacy. Right now, all he has to show for five years in office is the withdrawal from Iraq, as bungled and mangled as that was; the pending withdrawal from Afghanistan and the killing of bin-Laden. If he gets into a war in Syria, there is every reason to believe we will still be stuck there when his term expires (if he is not impeached for another breach of the War Powers Act and the Constitution). This will end his legacy as the peacemaker. Does this factor in any significant way? Clearly Gen. Dempsey is playing to that “legacy” card with Obama, and it is ultimately Obama who will make the call and order the initial cruise missile strikes. Keep an eye on the fact that Gen. Dempsey is in Jordans as of Sunday for three days of meetings with “the allies” including Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Jordan. Are they contemplating some kind of operation to grab the CW stockpiles? There were war games of all these countries in June 2012 on precisely such a mission.
    Russian top officials continue to warn about a replay of Iraq, and they are claiming today that the sniper fire and bombings targeting the UN CW inspection team are aimed at preventing them from discovering evidence that it was the rebels who did the attacks.
    I welcome your thoughts and those of the others in this critical dialogue.

  49. Alba Etie says:

    And what type of revolution might we consider Bill H ?

  50. Matthew says:

    DH: I went back and reviewed Goldman’s “How Civilizations Die” after our last exchange. It is even more dreadful the second time through.

  51. João Carlos says:

    So, in 2014 will be 100 years after the start of the First World War. Take note that big war started by “accident”.
    Now, US will atack Syria and Russia is determined to defend Syria to last consequences. I fear people are crazy and stupid and we will see a Third World War, that will start by “accident”…
    Well, my cynical mind think that can be better ways to celebrate the WWI birthday than starting a new great war.

  52. Fred says:

    The electoral kind.

  53. r whitman says:

    PL-what is the possibility that there is a rogue group in the Syrian Military that is pro government but is trying to get rid of Assad.? It would explain a lot.

  54. tunde says:

    What would be their aim, at this point in the conflict ? I don’t mean to be facetious. They’d be hung as soon as Assad was gotten rid of too, surely.

  55. tunde says:

    You had earlier linked to the Britam Defense hacks. Errily similar being played out.

  56. tunde says:

    For those whom have experience in military tactics in urban environments (and whom understand Russian)
    Syrian army operations as filmed by a Russian news team.

  57. Alba Etie says:

    third party perhaps

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