‘West out of imagination, resorting to old scenarios’ in Syria chemical weapons claims

‘West out of imagination, resorting to old scenarios’ in Syria chemical weapons claims
Accusing the Syrian government of being responsible for the chemical attack in Idlib is an attempt to justify a future military strike by the US, says Jamal Wakeem, professor of history and international relations at Lebanese University in Beirut.

This, Professor Wakeem believes, is a repetition of the scenario used prior to the invasion of Iraq.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, at a joint press conference with his counterpart from Qatar, said that Russia has renewed its calls for an impartial and transparent investigation into the chemical incident in the Syrian province of Idlib.

RT:  Do you believe the current investigation by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is transparent enough?

Dr. Jamal Wakeem: No, I don’t think so. First of all, because the experts are not on the ground. They didn’t collect the data in person. They were provided this data by insurgent groups that are accused, at least by some powers, of being responsible for smuggling these chemical substances into northern Syria and into other parts of Syria. So how are these experts, who are residing in southern Turkey, getting these samples? In what way are they building their investigation? I believe there are attempts by this committee and by the dissident general of the Syrian Army – of course they are backed by Qatar and by Saudi Arabia – to help frame Bashar al-Assad and the Syrian regime, and accuse them of being responsible for this chemical attack just to justify a military strike in the future by the US and its allies. I believe we’re witnessing a repetition of the same scenario that was used prior to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. I hope it doesn’t lead to the same result with Syria.

RT:The Western media, like the British paper, the Telegraph, are running the story of a former Syrian general who claims Damascus is hiding chemical weapons, but he escaped Syria before the UN documented the complete destruction of such weapons. Can his account be trusted?

JW: I don’t think so. The accounts of too many dissidents were paid off by Qatar, by Saudi Arabia, and by Turkey itself, but mainly by Qatar. So why would this general come out in the open and claim such a thing? Why didn’t he speak before that, during the investigation in 2014 and the process of destruction of the arsenal of Syria by the US? Why didn’t he protest then? Why is it now when there are efforts by the US and by its allies to frame the Syrian regime and accuse it of being responsible for the attack in Khan Shaykhun, in Idlib? I believe that we are referring to the same scenario. By the way, the West is no longer enjoying rich imagination in creating scenarios. They are referring to the same scenarios that were used before, and it won’t be that credible with the audience.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.