Syria chemical weapons accusations ‘a means of justifying further military action’

The ‘red line’ drawn by the US over chemical weapons usage is a standard not applied to Syrian rebels, despite the same ‘red line’ being used for the Syrian government, Abayomi Azikwe, editor of the pan-African news wire, tells RT.

The US is conveniently ignoring accusations that the Syrian rebels themselves might have engaged in crimes against humanity, while throwing blame at Syria for unproven chemical weapon use to justify further military, political and diplomatic pressure against the Syrian government.

RT: American and EU intelligence agencies have reportedly concluded that the Syrian government has used chemical weapons over the last few years. Obama is on record saying that the use of poison gas is a red line that would potentially trigger an intervention in the conflict. Do you think these claims are trustworthy?

Abayomi Azikwe: I think we need to see the evidence – this is a so-called red line that President Obama drew several months ago. He claims that if there’s evidence of the movement of chemical weapons or the usage of chemical weapons, this would require the United States to escalate its military intervention into Syria.

Based upon the developments that have been taking place in Syria over the last two weeks in regard to the removal of rebels from various parts of the country and also the international situation, which is very disadvantageous in relationship to any type of US or NATO intervention in Syria – direct intervention in Syria – I believe that this of course is being utilized to provide a rationale and a justification for the escalation of military, political as well as diplomatic pressure against the Syrian government.

It’s no strange phenomenon that this is taking place right in the aftermath of the routing of the rebels in the Al Kussur just over a week ago. And of course these developments on the ground, inside Syria do not bode well for US interests which are  exclusively designed to bring about the downfall of the government of President Bashar al-Assad. I think we really need to find out what concrete evidence they have that they Syrian government is involved in the utilization of chemical weapons – the Syrian government, it would definitely not be in their interests to utilize chemical weapons in a situation where they in fact have the upper hand against these Western-backed rebels.

Former United Nations (UN) prosecutor and member of a UN-mandated commission of inquiry on the Syria conflict, Swiss' Carla del Ponte. (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)
Former United Nations (UN) prosecutor and member of a UN-mandated commission of inquiry on the Syria conflict, Swiss’ Carla del Ponte. (AFP Photo / Fabrice Coffrini)

RT: Former chief UN War Crimes Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said that in the latest report, there are strong suspicions that sarin gas has been used by the rebels and not the country’s authorities. What evidence does Washington have to the contrary, do you think?

AA: Well, this is very interesting – the fact that this UN investigator is claiming that there is evidence that would suggest that the Western-backed opposition forces have been using sarin gas – we don’t hear hardly anything in this regard as it relates to the US State Department, the Department of Defense, or the White House.

So why all of a sudden now that the Syrian government is being accused of using chemical weapons, when in fact there is evidence that would suggest that other forces in the opposition which are indirectly are being armed, financed and given political support by the West through their various proxy entities in the region? In the gulf states vis-à-vis Turkey, Jordan, and also certain elements in Lebanon. It’s quite obvious and this has even been written about in the Western press, that they are indirectly supporting and arming these counter-revolutionaries in Syria.

So they won’t take into consideration any human rights violations, any crimes against humanity that are being committed by the opposition forces. But any opportunity, whether it is justified or whether it’s a complete fabrication, that they can blame the Syrian government for committing crimes, they immediately move in that direction as a means of justifying further military action.

They have wanted for some time to declare that they will openly arm the Syrian opposition, but they are doing it anyway. Now, it would be very problematic for them to declare a no-fly-zone over Syria and engage in airstrikes over Damascus and Aleppo and other cities throughout the country  because they have the support of other countries that have said they will not allow the US or UN to carry out bombing operations over Syria. So they have been utilizing the Israeli Air Force, they’ve been utilizing other proxy forces in order to carry out military actions against Syria.

I think this is representative of the dilemma that the US is facing and the European countries that are against Syria and we just have to follow the situation very closely. I know that most people inside the US and most people in the international community do not want another war – a full-fledged war that will involve our ground troops and even aerial bombardments against the people of Syria. It would cause regional implications – the southern Lebanese people would of course be involved in this situation, Iran would be directly affected by it, as well as Russia and other countries throughout the region.

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