Do Americans get the Nelsonian eye piece? Admiral Nelson famously raised his looking glass to his blind eye when asked to look at something he didn’t want to see, and hence declared he saw nothing!?
Both Syrian opposition forces and the regime have claimed further chemical weapons (CW) usage in Syria over the last few days focused on Damascus suburbs and Hama. Both sides are claiming the other is using chlorine and Organophosphates to perpetuate the CW horror. Chemical weapons have killed relatively few people in Syria but their use is, sadly, the defining issue of the Syrian civil war thus far–along with the inertia of the international community when it comes to doing anything constructive to alleviate the suffering of, and industrial slaughter of, the innocent civilians of this embattled country. With yet another deadline about to pass for the ‘final’ removal of the regime’s CW stockpile from Syria, the regime appears keen to keep the CW issue on the front pages in order to prolong international paralysis, further aided by Russian focus on other matters like Ukraine.
The use of chlorine–the first CW ever used in warfare, debuting nearly 100 years ago on the Ypres Salient in WWI–is potentially another brilliant ruse of war. Chlorine is not part of the regime’s ‘declared’ stockpile.’ It’s also readily available domestically and commercial across Syria but is still classified as a CW under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The use of chlorine complicates the issue, as either side could obtain and use it. Al-Qaeda has been researching ‘improvised’ CW usage for some time, which would implicate, as the regime is doing, Al Nusra. However, the alleged delivery by barrel bombs from helicopters–not believed to be in rebels’ inventory–makes the perpetrators of this latest attack look very much like the Syrian regime. But why? The CW issue has given Assad almost free rein to do what he likes in Syria, as the international focus is almost solely on removing toxic chemicals. With this painfully slow operation potentially reaching its culminating point in the next few weeks, what better way to get the international community to raise its looking glass to it’s blind Nelsonian eye than by suggesting that CW is still rife in Syria and being freely used by the opposition?