A new report confirms that one of the rockets fired in the chemical attack that killed hundreds of Syrian civilians, August 21, 2013, was not fired from a Syrian government position, as the Obama administration claimed. The case U.S. officials made for retaliatory military action in Syria was flawed at best – manufactured at worst – as pointed out by this blog and many others, while most in the pathetic MSM uncritically accepted the Regime’s bogus claims.
“I honestly have no idea what happened,” one of the researchers said. “My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack. But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct.”
A team of security and arms experts, meeting this week in Washington to discuss the matter, has concluded that the range of the rocket that delivered sarin in the largest attack that night was too short for the device to have been fired from the Syrian government positions where the Obama administration insists they originated.***
In the report, titled “Possible Implications of Faulty U.S. Technical Intelligence,” Richard Lloyd, a former United Nations weapons inspector, and Theodore Postol, a professor of science, technology and national security policy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, argue that the question about the rocket’s range indicates a major weakness in the case for military action initially pressed by Obama administration officials.
The administration eventually withdrew its request for congressional authorization for a military strike after Syria agreed to submit to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the weapons. Polls showed overwhelming public opposition to a military strike, however, and it was doubtful Congress would have authorized an attack.
Lloyd and Postol’s report is the most recent installment in a months-long debate among rocket and weapons experts, much of it carried out in detailed papers posted on the Internet, about the nature of the munitions used in the Aug. 21 attack on rebel-controlled suburbs of Damascus.
The report’s authors admit that they deal only with one area of the attacks, the eastern suburb of Zamalka, where the largest quantity of sarin was released that night. They acknowledge that smaller rockets likely used in areas southwest of the capital could have come from government-controlled territory.
Relying on mathematical projections about the likely force of the rocket and noting that its design – some have described it as a trash can on a stick – would have made it awkward in flight, Lloyd and Postol conclude that the rocket likely had a maximum range of 2 kilometers, or just more than 1.2 miles. That range, the report explains in detail, means the rockets could not have come from land controlled by the Syrian government.
“I honestly have no idea what happened,” Postol said. “My view when I started this process was that it couldn’t be anything but the Syrian government behind the attack. But now I’m not sure of anything. The administration narrative was not even close to reality. Our intelligence cannot possibly be correct.”
Lloyd, who has spent the past half-year studying the weapons and capabilities in the Syrian conflict, disputed the assumption that the rebels are less capable of making rockets than the Syrian military.
“The Syrian rebels most definitely have the ability to make these weapons,” he said. “I think they might have more ability than the Syrian government.”
Both said they were not making a case that the rebels were behind the attack, just that a case for military action was made without even a basic understanding of what might have happened.
For instance, they said that Kerry’s insistence that U.S. satellite images had shown the impact points of the chemical weapons was unlikely to be true. The charges that detonate chemical weapons are generally so small, they said, that their detonations would not be visible in a satellite image.
There is very good reason to believe that the Syrian rebels launched the chemical attacks, as I previously reported in the following posts:
September 10, 2013: Iranians Warned U.S. That Syrian Rebels Had Chemical Weapons Over a Year Ago…