The United Nations’ team investigating Syria may be on its way to a very different conclusion from the U.S. and Britain on the use of nerve gas in the Syrian Civil War. Their early evidence is suggesting the rebels are the ones responsible for the use of chemical weapons and not the Assad regime as everyone has assumed to this point. The results of the investigation will not be released until June 3 but one investigator has “strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof” the rebels used sarin gas during the fighting.
Since the results are a month away, this makes the next few weeks even more volatile with the push for intervention growing because of the possible use of chemical weapons and the increasing Israeli bombing of Syrian regime targets. Are the rebels willing to use this type of tactic in an effort to garner sympathy for their cause and essentially trick the West into action?
It could prove effective since politicians in the U.S. and Russia have called the use of chemical weapons a “red line” in the war and, of course, it would not be the first time the United States has been pushed into action through the abuse of propaganda. The U.S. was infamously fooled by the Nayirah testimony when gearing up for a reaction to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait as the claim (made by a member of the Kuwaiti royal family) of Iraqi soldiers taking babies out of incubators and leaving them to die was never substantiated.
The difficult question now is: should the West wait for the results of this investigation nearly a month away to decide whether it intervenes in Syria or take action without conclusive evidence on the use of chemical weapons? A tremendously strenuous decision awaits the leaders of the West over the next few weeks as they try to solve this crisis as they see fit.