Today, May 28, the French daily Le Monde came about with an article on secret investigations made to confirm the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria's civil war. Two French journalists are now the first who personally witnessed chemical attacks committed by government troops. Today's editorial of Le Monde as well dealt with that subject, and here is my translation:
Demanding the Truth about Chemical Weapons
The war in Syria has passed another step. It has become "chemical". Toxic gases provoking cases of suffocation and even death have been employed by Syrian regime forces against, both, the rebel army and civilians. This is the new military tactic of a power ready for everything. It is being applied in numerous places and did not stop to intensify since April. Victims are experiencing cruel harm, the symptoms resembling those of poisoning with Sarin. Such information, now revealed by Le Monde, has been directly reported from the area. Our reporter Jean Philippe Rémy and the photographer Laurent Van der Stockt secretly travelled in Syria for two months. They carried out investigations in great detail, particularly in the region of Syria's capital Damascus.
What they are reporting doesn't come neither from videos posted on the internet by the Syrian opposition nor from stories told by refugees, the usual source of evidence on chemical attacks in Syria these last months. For the first time, chemical attacks are described by Western journalists, direct witnesses of the incidents.
The application of chemical weapons has been described by President Obama and other Western leaders as a "red line" the crossing of which would trigger off an intervention. Not later than May 24, F. Hollande declared in a speech to high-ranking responsible military personnell in Paris: "Today, the conflict has reached an extent that compels us, together with our allies, not to exclude any option whatsoever if the use of chemical weapons is well confirmed."
Let us be clear about that: Le Monde doesn't hold [back] irrefutable proof of revertings to chemical weapons in Syria. Only a scientific expert's report based on test samples could establish without any shadow of a doubt the [proof of] an application of substances that are particularly forbidden by the convention of banning chemical weapons (1993). Not every toxic gas is a chemical weapon. But the use of a toxic substance in battle makes it quite certainly a weapon.
One question is imposing itself: If journalists succeeded to make local investigations, how could be explained that Western leaders, considered able to control the data of their intelligence services, had never formulated until now any clear conclusion on the application of toxic weapons in Syria ? They restricted themselves to speak of "serious elements", just as U.S. secretary of state John Kerry recently did.
Bashar al-Assad makes a profit from it. The absence of external reactions, apart from recent Israeli [air] raids, encourages him to go even further. After the tanks, the planes, the Scud missiles, now the chemicals. One can be sure that a conference considered to be prepared in Geneva would bring to live even more deceptions, if "Chemical Bashar" (*) thinks to gain ground from gassing the enemy.
[ (*) = The expression "Chemical Bashar" should remind us of "Chemical Ali", an Iraqi general who served under Saddam Hussein. It was him who was in charge of chemical weapons which he used against the Kurds and the Iranians. - Ulysses ]
The conflict is counting nearly 100.000 casualties, the war extending its metastasis into the region. Are we to wait for a "Syrian Halabja", a massacre to be compared with that committed in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1988, before a real line of limitation will be traced ?
The investigation of Le Monde is showing that it is urgent for those responsible in the West to clearly announce what they know about chemical [weapons] in Syria, such making them stop evading that "red line" and making them leave ambiguity before it's too late.
Further news from CBC Radio Canada on May 28, 2013:
Russia condemns a recent EU decision to arm Syrian rebels and says it will deliver S-300 anti-aircraft missile systems to the Syrian regime, despite objections from the U.S. and Israel. This could transform an already brutal civil war into an East-West proxy fight. Israel, meanwhile, threatened to strike such air defense missiles systems if delivered to Syria, portraying them as a threat to the Jewish state and raising the risk of regional conflagration. Read the entire CBC article !
May 2013 visitors to "blueprint news" coming from Russia and neighbouring areas: