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US Can’t Prove Assad Approved Any Gas Attacks

From the Washington Times:

U.S. can’t prove Bashar Assad approved chemical attacks in Syria

Control of deadly weapons in question

By Guy Taylor | September 11, 2013

U.S. intelligence has yet to uncover evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad directly ordered the chemical attacks last month on civilians in a suburb of Damascus, though the consensus inside U.S. agencies and Congress is that members of Mr. Assad’s inner circle likely gave the command, officials tell The Washington Times.

The gap in the intelligence has raised debate in some corners of the wider intelligence community about whether Mr. Assad has full control of his war-weary Army and their arsenal of chemical missiles, which most likely would be treasured by terrorist groups known to be operating in Syria, said officials, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing intelligence matters.

“If there was a rogue general that did it on his own accord, that would be a bigger problem for Assad, because that would imply that he does not have control of his own weapons,” said one senior congressional source familiar with U.S. intelligence assessments on Syria...

So if Assad doesn’t have complete control over Syria’s chemical weapons, how can we expect him to hand them over to the Russians and/or any international watchdogs?

And what good is his promise to turn them over? The people who used them, the Syrian military, might not be willing to turn them over.

Outside the Obama administration, some analysts with senior-level Middle East and intelligence experience say doubts about control of Mr. Assad’s chemical arsenal… exist and are very real.

“As far as I know, there’s no intelligence that links [Mr. Assad] directly to the operation, so that does raise the question of command and control,” said Bruce Riedel, a former CIA officer who heads the Intelligence Project at the Brookings Institution in Washington…

“The optimistic scenario is that we’re going to now have a U.N. system put in place to monitor and control Syria’s chemical weapons,” said Mr. Riedel. “If there are questions about who is in control of the weapons, it makes that whole mission harder.”

What’s worse, he said, is that as international pressure mounts on Mr. Assad to comply with international specialists, there could be “Syrian military units and generals who believe keeping chemical weapons is their trump card and key to their survival.”

“Any U.N. disarmament effort is going to become even more complicated because they’re going to have to use forces to get that general to give it up — the generals hide things [and] I can envision in the chaos that’s going on in Syria today, some Syrian general saying, ‘I don’t care what the president says, I don’t care what the minister says, I’ve got to have my insurance policy and it is hanging onto a stash of chemical weapons.’” …

And if there is another chemical attack in the future from one of these rogue generals, what are we going to be able to do about it?

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told CNN on Sunday that the administration simply does not have “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” to show Mr. Assad ordered the attack. Instead, Mr. McDonough said the administration relied on the “common-sense test” to more broadly pin the attacks on the “Assad regime.” …

In addressing the nation from the White House Tuesday night, Mr. Obama reiterated a claim that other senior administration officials such as Mr. Kerry have made. “We know the Assad regime was responsible,” Mr. Obama said…

Our attitude regarding Mr. Obama and Mr. Kerry’s claims is: ‘Trust but verify.’

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, September 12th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “US Can’t Prove Assad Approved Any Gas Attacks”

  1. mr_bill says:

    Assad missed his opening, he should have claimed that these were the actions of some low-level field personnel. Then all his generals could have circled the wagons and claimed that they had absolutely no idea and no control over these low-level underlings. You know, exactly like what nerobama and his administration do everytime they get caught doing something illegal, see IRS, NSA, EPA, DoJ, etc.

    BTW, has the US tried to prove that the Syrian rebels used the gas? I wonder if there are any “gaps in intelligence” that are preventing them from establishing that link…

  2. captstubby says:

    “he should have claimed that …”
    even Assad knows anybody who can walk and chew gum would not buy anything like that.


    difference between Washington and Our Men and Woman in uniform.

    Navy Regulations, 1990, which states:

    The Commanding Officer and his or her subordinates shall exercise leadership through personal example, moral responsibility, and judicious attention to the welfare of persons under their control or supervision. Such leadership shall be exercised in order to achieve a positive, dominant influence on the performance of persons in the Department of the Navy.

    Although the XO runs the daily activity of the ship, and makes sure all goes according to plan, “The responsibility of the commanding officer for his or her command is absolute…” according to Navy Regulations. Which means that the CO is ultimately responsible for everything that goes on, good or bad. Thus, the CO gets the credit, or the blame.

    In response to a Secretary of the Army tasking in 2003,
    U.S. Army War College faculty and students stated that
    toxic leaders “are focused on visible short-term mission accomplishment
    … provide superiors with impressive, articulate
    presentations and enthusiastic responses to missions
    … [but] are unconcerned about, or oblivious to, staff or
    troop morale and/or climate … [and] are seen by the majority
    of subordinates as arrogant, self-serving, inflexible,
    and petty.” This definition reminds us that not all elements
    of a toxic personality are independently destructive. We
    prize “articulate presentations and enthusiastic responses
    to missions.” The phrase in the 2003 definition, “are seen
    by the majority of subordinates,” is significant. In determining
    leader toxicity, group consensus is powerful.
    The U.S. Army War College study, “Leadership Lessons.

    and this.

    • mr_bill says:

      That’s the same reason Reagan took responsibility for the Iran Contra affair:

      “First, let me say I take full responsibility for my own actions and for those of my Administration.

      As angry as I may be about activities undertaken without my knowledge, I am still accountable for those activities.

      As disappointed as I may be in some who served me, I am still the one who must answer to the American people for this behavior.

      And as personally distasteful as I find secret bank accounts and diverted funds, as the Navy would say, this happened on my watch.”

      That was leadership. This current nutball is nothing but a coward. For exactly that reason, I would have paid good money to see nerobama’s flimsy excuse thrown in his face and to watch his reaction to it. By condemning it, he’s calling his own lies out. So he either has to take it at face value and downplay his own foot stomping or he has to declare shenanigans on his own BS excuse. It would have been high entertainment to watch the little weasel deal with it.

  3. captstubby says:

    you have given a perfect example of a role model .

    of even when a President ,”the buck stops here.”,

    humbles himself to apologies to the American Public, and the World watching,

    He displays Honor and Class.

    Is this episode show en in the “Butler”?


    didn’t think so.

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