Lost in the hyper-politicized hullabaloo surrounding the Nunes Memorandum and the Steele Dossier was the striking statement by Secretary of Defense James Mattis that the U.S. has “no evidence” that the Syrian government used the banned nerve agent Sarin against its own people.
This assertion flies in the face of the White House (NSC) Memorandum which was rapidly produced and declassified to justify an American Tomahawk missile strike against the Shayrat airbase in Syria.
Mattis offered no temporal qualifications, which means that both the 2017 event in Khan Sheikhoun and the 2013 tragedy in Ghouta are unsolved cases in the eyes of the Defense Department and Defense Intelligence Agency.
Many people were very suspicious of claims that Assad had used CW’s, myself included.
The claims made by the US, EU and other western powers smelled bad from the start.
Not only was the claimed physical evidence sketchy, but the biggest problem was the motive: Assad had no reason to use Sarin or any other chemical weapon, and every reason not to, as Obama, Trump and others had threatened him with severe repercussions if he did.
I am very surprised to see Mattis admitting that the government lied. But those lies caused the continuation of a war that has killed nearly 500,000 people, and created millions of refugees.
The question I have is, why is Mattis admitting this, and why now?
Versions of the original (Associated Press) article also appeared in the NY Times: US Has No Evidence of Syrian Use of Sarin Gas, Mattis Says, On PBS Newshour: U.S. has no evidence of Syrian use of sarin gas, Mattis says
I’ve been looking at the facts and figures about chemical weapons use in Syria, and wow, it looks like this whole issue has been blown way out of proportion by the US and other western governments and the media for war-hawking propaganda purposes. I’m going to try to run some figures and see if I can put this in perspective. I’ll post a link here.
Associated Press (Original article)
NY Times: US Has No Evidence of Syrian Use of Sarin Gas, Mattis Says
PBS Newshour: U.S. has no evidence of Syrian use of sarin gas, Mattis says