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Response to GGJohn (Reply #6)

Sat Dec 26, 2015, 12:10 PM

64. No disclosed evidence that Assad gave command orders. Quite the opposite: intercepts of phone

calls that night recorded officials at the Syrian Defence Ministry freaking out when it learned that a chemical weapons attack had been launched. This was overheard by western intelligence analysts. After the fact, the most senior part of the Syrian military demanded who had ordered the attack. Here's the source, and it wasn't RT:

http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/08/27/exclusive-intercepted-calls-prove-syrian-army-used-nerve-gas-u-s-spies-say/

But the intercept raises questions about culpability for the chemical massacre, even as it answers others: Was the attack on Aug. 21 the work of a Syrian officer overstepping his bounds? Or was the strike explicitly directed by senior members of the Assad regime? "It’s unclear where control lies," one U.S. intelligence official told The Cable. "Is there just some sort of general blessing to use these things? Or are there explicit orders for each attack?"

Nor are U.S. analysts sure of the Syrian military’s rationale for launching the strike — if it had a rationale at all. Perhaps it was a lone general putting a long-standing battle plan in motion; perhaps it was a miscalculation by the Assad government. Whatever the reason, the attack has triggered worldwide outrage, and put the Obama administration on the brink of launching a strike of its own in Syria. "We don’t know exactly why it happened," the intelligence official added. "We just know it was pretty fucking stupid."


The FP report that appears at the site has been since edited. The original wording added this important piece of information as reported elsewhere, such as this AFP wire report:


'Panicked phone calls' between Syrian defence official and chemical weapons head after attack

Agence France-Presse

August 29, 2013
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/panicked-phone-calls-between-syrian-defence-official-and-chemical-weapons-head-after-attack

WASHINGTON // US intelligence services overheard a Syrian defence ministry official in "panicked phone calls with the leader of a chemical weapons unit" after last week's deadly chemical attack, Foreign Policy magazine has reported.

"Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at Syria's ministry of defence exchanged panicked phone calls with leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people," the report on Tuesday said.

"Those conversations were overheard by US intelligence services," the magazine said in a statement. "That is the major reason why American officials now say they're certain that the attacks were the work of the Bashar Al Assad regime – and why the US military is likely to attack that regime in a matter of days."

Also, there were contemporaneous reports of rebel groups obtaining chemical precursors in Turkey. Again, not RT:

There also was never a followup report from rebels caught in Turkey with chems...


http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-22720647

"Mr Cos did however say that unknown chemicals had been found and were being investigated."


AND

Turkey arrests Syrian Nusra Front militants -media
May 30, 2013|Reuters

ANKARA, May 30 (Reuters) - Turkish authorities have arrested
a group of Syria's al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front militants who
allegedly had been planning an attack inside Turkey and were in
possession of the nerve agent sarin, local media reported on
Thursday.

...

The 12 Nusra members were arrested in the southern city of
Adana, some 100 km (60 miles) from Syria, during raids at their
addresses where police uncovered 2 kg (4.5 pounds) of sarin as
well as heavy weapons, Taraf, Cumhuriyet and Aksam, as well as
several other dailies reported.

The men, who were allegedly planning a large attack in the
city, were formally detained by Adana's top court, the papers
reported, although it was not clear on what charges. The papers
did not reveal their sources.

...

Nusra is one of the most effective forces fighting President
Bashar al-Assad and last month pledged allegiance to al Qaeda
leader Ayman al-Zawahri. The U.S. State Department designated
Nusra as a terrorist organisation in December.

Experts have long said Nusra is receiving support from al
Qaeda-linked militants in neighbouring Iraq. The group claimed
responsibility for deadly bombings in Damascus and Aleppo, and
its fighters have joined other Syrian rebel brigades.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-05-30/news/sns-rt-syria-crisisturkeyl3n0eb2uy-20130530_1_nusra-front-chemical-weapons-jonathon-burch

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LineLineLineLineReply No disclosed evidence that Assad gave command orders. Quite the opposite: intercepts of phone
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