ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: L’ONU demande une enquête sur les armes chimiques
by Rosa Moussaoui
Translated Saturday 24 August 2013, by
After the murderous raids on Wednesday in the outskirts of Damascus, the regime  of Bachar Al-Assad denies having had recourse to chemical weapons. Voices are raised to demand an investigation by experts from the UN, who arrived last Sunday in Damascus.
At an emergency meeting Wednesday evening, the UN Security Council restricted themselves to demanding that "light" be shed on accusations of the use of chemical weapons in the outskirts of Damascus. No surprise, Moscow and Peking are opposed to the adoption of a declaration. At one year, almost to the day, after the declarations of the president Barack Obama making the use of chemical weapons a "red line", and, without waiting for the allegations to be confirmed, the head of French diplomacy, Laurent Fabius, called yesterday for a "response". "If this is verified, it is the French position that there be a reaction", and even that "a reaction that could take the form of a reaction by force", he launched.
All hypotheses must be retained 
Clearly, even if the sending of land-based troops is officially excluded, Paris is pleading for a military intervention. Even to the extent of releasing the constraints on NATO, in order to make an end run around the Russian and Chinese vetoes. "If the UN Security Council can not make a decision, then decisions must be made in another fashion. How? I go no further than to say this", declared Laurent Fabius. While the opposition  evaluates the damage of the bombardments and of a possible chemical attack at some 1300 dead and denounces the "complicit silence" of the international community, on its side, the Damas regime defends the hypothesis of a "provocation" by the rebellion  A high-level chief of the Syrian security services, cited by the Agence France Presse, assures that the use of chemical weapons would amount to "political suicide", particularly at a moment when a mission of UN experts is on site in Damascus since last Sunday, for an inquiry into the possible use of non-conventional arms by the Bashar Al Assad regime  "It is not in our interest under present circumstances to use chemical arms while the commission is on site … Through these accusations (those opposing us) wish to damage the work of the experts and to confuse the situation … They are trying to counter the success of the army with these lies", this military source  affirms . This line of argument is taken up by Russia, which evokes a "planned provocation", and by Iran. "If the information concerning the use of chemical arms is exact, they were most certainly used by the terrorist groups" who "have every interest in aggravating and internationalising the crisis", affirms  the chief of Iranian diplomacy, Mohammed Javbad Zarif.
"Attacks Considered as War Crimes"
But while many voices were raised to demand that the UN experts gain access to the scenes of the attacks on Wednesday in order to shed light on the affair, the regime  has no intention of making their task easy. The Swede Aake Sellström, head of the UN commission, began negotiations on Wednesday with the Syrian government  with the aim of obtaining access to the sites targeted by the raids on Wednesday. In fact, the mandate of the experts is limited. They are supposed to determine if chemical arms were used in Khan al-Assal (near Alep), Ataybe (near Damascus) and in Homs (centre), but not to assign blame or responsibility. For Amnesty International, this mandate should be extended, "The allegations of use of chemical weapons against civilians, which "Amnesty" can verify in an independent manner, underlines the urgent need to equip the UN team presently in Syria with a mandate and access to all sites, in order to investigate the incidents in which chemical weapons were supposedly used". The non-governmental group calls on international justice. "If these allegations are corroborated, the attacks must be considered as war crimes. The only way to deal with continued violations in Syria is that the UN Security Council transfer the dossier to the International Criminal Court, as Amnesty has been demanding since 2011", insists the adjoint director of Amnesty International for the Near East and North Africa, Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui.
Hope in Shambles for a Political Solution
At this very time, a new murderous episode has destroyed the hope, weak as it was, for a political solution to a conflict that has already, according to the UN, caused the death of 100,000 persons, and has made thousands of refugees. Speaking from Istanbul on Wednesday, Georges Sabra, a leader of the "opposition"  maintains that "all discourse concerning a Geneva II conference and political propositions are in vain, with the continued massacres .
Thirteen Months of Suspicions
The Syrian government admits to possessing chemical weapons and threatens using them in case of western military intervention, but promises never to use ten against its own population.
For Obama the use of chemical weapons is a "red line" not to be crossed.
Damascus and the rebels mutually accuse one another of having used chemical weapons near Alep.
Carla Del Ponte, member of the UN commission of inquiry on human rights violations, affirms that the Syrian rebels themselves made use of sarin gas. She is disavowed by her own institution.
On the basis of samples brought back by two reporters  from Le Monde, Laurent Fabius states he is "certain" that the Syrian government has used sarin gas.
Moscow has proof that the rebels had recourse to sarin gas on 19 March in Khan al-Assal, near Alep. Washington says it is dubious about these proofs.
The UN is informed about 13 presumed chemical attacks.
Twenty UN inspectors charged with investigating the use of chemical weapons in the Syrian conflict arrive in Damascus.
Related Information Gathered by the Translator:
The present article translated from l’Humanité points to efforts being made to sabotage the Geneva II talks, but makes no reference to preparations for direct military actions against Syria, to be portrayed as being in "response" to the "bombardments", the use of "chemical weapons", and the "red lines" crossed. The following article posted on Debka Weekly , in English, provides a more immediate picture of the present situation: the US war plans ready to be put in action within days:. It describes, in particular, the new, heavily defended, US advanced base in Jordan for its Centcom forward command, associated forces, special forces trained and armed by the US, and missile batteries installed.
The details of the US military plan are given in a second article from Debka Weekly, describing the final touches on the plan put in place by Chairman of the US Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who, in Israel, Monday, Aug. 12, had critical talks with Israel’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense minister Moshe Ya’alon and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, followed by parallel talks in Jordan, where the military build-up is centred.
The so-called "non-governmental" and "humanitarian" organisations, such as "Amnesty International", mentioned above, are frequently in league with such organisations as the "National Endowment for Democracy" and other think-tanks spear-heading US interventionism. Just a taste, the current publicity campaign of "Medecins du Monde":. In an attached letter, the president of MdM denounced the bombardment of civilians, executions of doctors, hospitals made inaccessible, transport of medicines made illegal, etc., letting it be understood that these effects are due to Syrian government repression. The announcements this morning 25 August by Medecins sans frontières, that chemicals were involved in recent casualties in Syria (without overtly placing blame for their use), are not necessarily wholly innocent, given the propaganda rush for war.
In an article posted on Iran French Radio, the journalist Kharroubi Habib spells out the worries for Paris, London, and Saudi Arabia, that the US and Russia manage to reach a peace agreement in Geneva, thus placing the interests of Israel and of its western allies "out of bounds".
In an interview with Bassam Tahhan, a professor of Near-Eastern studies in Paris, we learn that the faked images of the "massacre" on Wednesday were already posted on Tuesday night on a Takfiri web site. In a similar report by journalist Thierry Meyssan, of Reseau Voltaire, he explains how to check out these images on YouTube. Bassam Tahhar explains, at the conclusion of his interview, that the US will live to regret its interventionist policies in Syria, since it is they who will end up footing the bill for the damages. Thierry Meyssan, in his interview, explains that he heard the bombardment from his lodging in Damascus, but knew that the targeted areas were river-bank areas from which the civilian populations had long been absent, due to prior military engagements.
Added this Sunday morning, 25 August,
Gathered from the remarkable web site Information Clearing House, a one-man operation by Tom Feeley, specialising in information from the Middle East.
Syria Endgame Approaching Fast outlines the problems faces by the US president, and those approaches he is likely to choose. A no-win situation.
Another Anti-Assad False Flag underlines the fact that US warfare by proxy, even under the new name of "terrorism" or "anti-terrorism" (take your choice), is nothing new. Stephen Lendman shows this technique for "regime change" was used back in the 1980’s, under Ronald Reagan. "But US-enlisted terrorists are no match against Syria’s military superiority." This article retells the story of the "Britam Defense" email exchange (saying it has been expunged from the web, which would be no surprise), where executives of a private military contracting outfit discuss accepting a highly-paid contract to simulate a chemical attack on civilians in Syria, using Ukranian mercenaries to pose as Russians, planting chemical weapons from Libya that could be passed off as originating in government stockpiles in Syria. In fact, this information is still on the web, in full, at this address.
[Under The Black Flag Of Al-Qaeda, The Syrian City Ruled By Gangs Of Extremists-http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article34925.htm] describes what life is like in Syria in areas controlled by the Jabhat al-Nusra "rebels", Al Qaeda, Ahrar al-Sham and other US/Qatar/Saudi-backed mercenaries.
In a video, Moaz al-Khatib Exposes Roles of Saudi Arabia and Qatar in the Syrian Crisis on al-Jazeera the former president of the Syrian National Coalition, Moaz al-Khatib, is interviewed by al-Jazeera television, explaining why he had to leave his leadership position in the "opposition" in order to seek peace in the interests of the Syrian people. (I may be the case that this video will be removed from that address, for reasons of copyright. But it’s well worth viewing, even if you have to find it elsewhere.)
Finally, this French-language interview by Ayssar Midani, co-founder of the Coordination for the Sovereignty of Syria and Against Foreign Intervention in Paris, reporting from her home in Damascus for the network Cercle des Volontaires, explains that Russian satellite photography establishes that the chemical weapons used at Jobar were fired from Duma by the "rebels" (jihadist mercenaries), and that large stocks of chemicals, of Saudi and European fabrication, were discovered in the rebels’ tunnel fortifications by the advancing Syrian Army. Yet French foreign minister Laurent Fabius continues to blame "the regime", saying he has "independent proof", and "philosopher" Bernard Henri Levy continues his tirade for war against Syria.
Ayssar Midani goes on to say that the United States government is in for a big surprise if they think their military moves will "defend Israel". With all the allies of Syria ready to act, and to act against Israel, it is Israel that will pay the broken pottery.
Of course if you just want to see what the "main-stream press" does with the story, try this !
 Translator’s note: "government"
 Translator’s note: In current US/Israeli lingo, "All options remain on the table".
 Translator’s note: spokesmen for anti-Syrian-government groups in France and UK, backing an intervention by "jihadiist" mercenaries from some 30 countries, in turn armed and funded by Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel, US, UK, France et al
 Translator’s note: In this report, the "opposition" "evaluates", while the "regime" "defends an hypothesis" that is then designated by a word appearing in quotes. Slippery situation, what? The opposite-symmetric journalistic mode would be to write "While the "opposition" "evaluates" the result of the attack at 1300 dead, the Syrian government suggests that it was a provocation by the enemy."
 Translator’s note: Again? See note 1.
 Translator’s note: By specifying that the "haut responsible des services de sécurité" is a "source militaire", the reporter leaves open the possibility that this statement is self-serving.
 Translator’s note: Well, to be honest, the author of this article wrote "fait valoir" here, meaning "would like us to believe"
 Translator’s note: again "fait valoir", see note 7
 Translator’s note: Again? See note 1.
 Translator’s note: Ah, merci, at last!
 Translator’s note: This time the quotation marks are mine.
 Translator’s note: This final statement by the opposition spokesman points, in my opinion, directly to the reason for the attacks on Wednesday: the "opposition’s" last-minute attempt to dynamite the Geneva talks.
 Translator’s note: On Sunday, 24 February, of this year I attended what was announced as a "debate" on events in Syria, organized at the Institut du Monde arabe, in Paris. The context was an all-day event, "Syria at Heart, a Day of Solidarity with the Syrian People", and the "debate" was scheduled for a two-hour period 14h30-16h30, modestly entitled "The Future of Syria". Contrary to the statutes of the Institut, which precludes the hosting of events that will serve the interests of one faction on issues of foreign relations between arab states, the "debate" served up 10 spokespersons for the "opposition" and "armee syrienne libre", two sisters Kodami, heading up the "National Transitional Council" or "National Council of Syria", the pseudo-ambassador to France, Monzer Makhous, a professor Filiu from "Sciences-Po", a token communist and former minister of government, Jack Ralite, a Lebanese specialist in new arab movements, professor at the American University in Paris, Ziad Majed, and a humanitarian, counsellor for operations at "Medecins sans frontières", Fabrice Weissmann; --- not a single voice for the Syrian government position. Perhaps to avoid problems with running counter to the statutes of the Institut, the affair was hosted by the new Socialist Party appointee to the two top positions of control of the Institut, former culture minister Jack Lang, who, at the end of the 10 one-sided presentations and a tearful song by his muse "Sappho", complained, at 16h10, 20 minutes before the scheduled end of the session, that there was no time for questions and debate. The reason I mention this is that one of the speakers, who launched a tear-jerking recital of suffering under the "dictatorial regime", was Christophe Ayad, "grand journalist" at le Monde, whom I feel free to imagine was one of those two "reporters from le Monde" who brought back the "proofs" of the use of sarin gas so eagerly seized upon by Laurent Fabius.
 A web-based periodical that Wikipedia describes as: " Israeli, open-source, military intelligence website with commentary and analyses on terrorism, intelligence, security, and military and political affairs in the Middle East." They frequently highlight US military preparations in the region, presumably in the hope that they will be put to use.