Last Wednesday just east of Damascus a chemical attack using a nerve agent struck down more than 1,000 civilians. The U.S. intelligence services intercepted a communication from a Syrian official who demanded answers regarding the chemical weapons strike. American officials are now aware that the Bashar al-Assad regime was responsible for the attacks. In a few days the U.S. military is likely to attack the regime.
But the “chemical massacre” as Foreign Policy.com calls it numbingly raises questions on the responsibility of the attack. Namely, was it one crazed officer who called for the chemical agents, or was it a senior officer of the Assad regime. “It’s unclear where control lies,” a U.S. intelligence officer commented. Intelligence is unaware whether there is a general go-ahead, or whether each attack is specifically ordered. The analysts working for the U.S. intelligence also is unaware of reason behind the strike, or whether there was a reason at all. Whether there was a single crazed person behind the attack, or whether it was a part of a long-winded battle plan, the entire world is outraged and there are pressures now on the Obama administration to strike back at Syria.
Soil and blood samples from victims at the spot of the attack test positively for the nerve agent. Doctors, nurses and other eyewitnesses give testimony that positively corresponds to signs of exposure to the sarin nerve agent. The White House has not decided to go to war with Syria, but there are talks of air strikes and punitive strikes. “Dead children have been stacked neatly in rows,” and images of the dead have come across to the US, quickly changing minds here about the responsibility our country has to save lives abroad.
YouTube footage from people at the site is being analyzed by American intelligence, but nothing conclusive has been decided. Experts believe they are seeing the effects of nerve gas, but they aren’t 100% certain.
Senators and representatives typically against war have come on the side of measuring “justice” to the Assad regime. Representative Eliot Engel, “the most senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee” commented, “the U.S. has two options: continue to largely stand on the sidelines as the regime slaughters its own people, or tip the balance of power against a brutal dictator by degrading its ability to attack civilians. If we are to salvage what remains of our credibility in the region, we must act soon.”