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Possible Chemical Weapons Use In Syria 164

Hugh Pickens writes "Mike Hoffman reports that Syria's Assad regime has accused the rebels of launching a chemical weapons attack in Aleppo that killed 25 people — an accusation the rebel fighters have strongly rebuked. A Reuters photographer said victims he had visited in Aleppo hospitals were suffering breathing problems and that people had said they could smell chlorine after the attack. The Russian foreign ministry says it has enough information to confirm the rebels launched a chemical attack while U.S. government leaders say they have not found any evidence of a chemical attack. White House spokesman Jay Carney says the accusations made by Assad could be an attempt to cover up his own potential attacks. 'We've seen reports from the Assad regime alleging that the opposition has been responsible for use. Let me just say that we have no reason to believe these allegations represent anything more than the regime's continued attempts to discredit the legitimate opposition and distract from its own atrocities committed against the Syrian people,' said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland. 'We don't have any evidence to substantiate the regime's charge that the opposition even has CW (chemical weapons) capability.' President Obama has said the 'red line' to which the U.S. would send forces to Syria would be the use of chemical weapons. However, it was assumed the Assad regime would be the ones using their chemical weapons stockpile, not the rebels."
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Possible Chemical Weapons Use In Syria

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  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@ w o r l d 3 . net> on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:15AM (#43222449) Homepage Journal

    Finally there is a reason to monetize this otherwise wasted conflict. Don't let their suffering be in vain!

    • by CAIMLAS ( 41445 )

      The elephant in the room is what isn't being mentioned.

      Why has nobody of an officious status mentioned that this could be a false flag attack to muster international sentiments in favor of Syria, in opposition to the rebels? I'm sure Syrian government officials would like nothing more at this point than to have the US and UN coalition allies storm in and settle things for them. What surer way to do so than have their opponents use an 'illegal weapon', hopefully killing innocents?

      I suspect nobody's mentioned

      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Looker_Device ( 2857489 ) * on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:40AM (#43223753)

        Why has nobody of an officious status mentioned that this could be a false flag attack to muster international sentiments in favor of Syria, in opposition to the rebels?

        Because it's become clear that the rebels in Syria (as in most of the Arab Spring) are no more trustworthy than the Assad government, and just as willing to engage in atrocities. When you can't trust either side, you basically end up just ignoring both. It's pretty much impossible to tell the truth from the bullshit in Syria.

        • I am not happy with that answer. That means we end up with a failed state spewing forth chaos and violence into the world. (Still trying to figure out what the right decision is.)

          • by mjr167 ( 2477430 )
            Carpet bomb? No more violence or chaos spewing forth from that part of the world...
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Whether you're happy with it or not is irrelevant. It's a true answer. There's a reason they're always referred to as the "rebels in Syria" and not by some official name. There is no official name, because they're not organized. And unfortunately the best organized, most effective groups in the rebels are islamist, anti-western militants, generally foreign fighters of some sort, who are interested in the extreme side if middle eastern politics, namely impose Sharia and burn Israel to the ground. There

          • So you're among the millions that think all we need to do to solve this whole thing is just give them a big hug. Maybe offer them an icre cream cone or something?

            At some point you and millions of others are going to need to come to terms with the fact that there are bad people out there in the world. And no amount of hugs, or laws, or regulations, or sanctions, or aid programs, or anything else changes that simple fact. And bad people dont respond to heartfelt crap that came off of a Hallmark card. Somet
        • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @12:16PM (#43224653)
          It seems that, just as when Russia was fighting in Afghanistan, the US is supporting the guys who include the Islamic fundamentalists against the people who believe in a more or less secular State. Assad may be unpleasant, but like Saddam he is trying to keep the lid on Shiite/Sunni warring.

          If the US arms the rebels, they will be supplying equipment to units of the Taliban who will, as sure as day, subsequently use them against the West. It is hard not to be cynical and think this is all about arms dealers staying in business.

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Because it's become clear that the rebels in Syria (as in most of the Arab Spring) are no more trustworthy than the Assad government, and just as willing to engage in atrocities

          Considering most of the rebels, including those engaged in the "arab spring" are far worse then those who they are replacing, I'm more likely to believe them to be willing to commit these acts. Well, people are free to believe whatever they want, but considering that the rebel groups have already in the past happily aligned themselves with known terrorist organizations or are simply offshoots of them, it wouldn't surprise me. Anyone who believed that the arab spring was going to make things better was eit

      • It could well be a false flag attack, but your elephant is a small one.

        If the white house thinks: "the threshold for intervention is chemical weapons" (reasonable), and tell it the world openly (this is pure madness or being criminal, choose), and there are interests in doing such intervention (and lots of people have interest in wars) then chemical attacks will occur.

      • Why has nobody of an officious status

        Definition of "officious":

        1. Assertive of authority in an annoyingly domineering way, esp. with regard to petty or trivial matters.
        2. Intrusively enthusiastic in offering help or advice; interfering.

        meddlesome - obtrusive - intrusive

        Did you perhaps mean "official"?

  • Coincidence? (Score:3, Informative)

    by mwasham ( 1208930 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:21AM (#43222483) Homepage
    Britam was hacked recently and some of the emails (that they claim were fake) hinted this was in the works. http://www.infowars.com/hack-reveals-washington-approved-plan-to-stage-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/ [infowars.com]
    • Re:Coincidence? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:39AM (#43222629)

      See, you had me right up until I saw the infowars link. There's left and right bias in the media, and then there's the drug addled bat shit fucking crazy morons that run conspiracy web sites like infowars.

      • Hold on, I don't think that's fair.

        Drugs can't adequately explain the bizarre paranoid delusions inforwars garners. Drugs can induce delusions, but they're usually not of the paranoid kind. I have every reason to believe that there's a relatively(10-25%) common mental issue that the Internet has allowed to surface and self-reinforce. Things common to all of us, like confirmation bias makes a few paranoid delusions start to seem rational to particular subcultures, and they all assure each-other of how rig

      • Infowars is about as reliable a news source as the Onion, and for the same reasons.
  • by vivaoporto ( 1064484 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @08:31AM (#43222559)
    First: wtf is this doing on tec.slashdot.org?

    Second: this red line was crossed a long time ago: Syria used chemical weapons in Homs, US state department cables reveal [dailymail.co.uk] It's just that the world won't care unless it was the scary beaded guys that did it, when Assad did it last December the world pretended it didn't happened

    Third: don't pretend you care, the death toll is reaching 100.000, Assad launched everything in his arsenal from cluster bombs to SCUDs, about 1.000.000 people were displaced. Unless something spills over the Golan heights nothing will be done except strong worded letters to all parts involved

    Bottom line: move along, nothing to see here
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *

      wtf is this doing on tec.slashdot.org?

      Page hits. Slashdot is now a corporation and very much for profit. Political stuff like this gets page hits.

    • Note: it is Russia and China [wsj.com] that have everyone afraid to intervene for the most part. What we have here is a clusterfuck of the current iteration of the Great Game causing political tensions that make most nations leery to the point that everyone refuses to take any action.

      This is doubly so for America as you add in the Democrats knowing damned well that no matter how justified an intervention is they will be tarred even more by Republicans claiming it was simply warmongering (see Libya).

      So those in power

      • This is doubly so for America as you add in the Democrats knowing damned well that no matter how justified an intervention is they will be tarred even more by Republicans claiming it was simply warmongering (see Libya).
        Yes, that great Republican Dennis Kucinich [wikipedia.org] had constitutional objections. But that's okay we're "rushing to war" in Syrian, but since there is a Democratic president it will all turn out OK.
    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      Well, the U.S. cared about Iraq and the echo chamber here resounded with "tut-tut, even WE know better". Personally, I think knocking over a tyrannical dictator is always a good think in the long run. In the short run, things get messy.

      On a different note, the Arabs and Persians are killing each other in a civil war started in 600's when some relative of Muhammed got whacked long after the M boy scarpered to that Great Food Bowl in the Sky claiming (gee, who'd have guessed) "no prophet will arise after me".

    • by lemur3 ( 997863 )

      First: wtf is this doing on tec.slashdot.org?

      I am glad to see this on slashdot.

      im often glad to see what may on their face seem like 'not slashdot' material posted because people on slashdot often offer insight and info that just doesnt appear anywhere else.

      i've not seen it yet on this story but this is the EXACT type of story that some slashdot user will geek out on and bust out all kinds of chemistry stuff about how a certain chemical reacts on the body and how effective they are when used in certain places.. in certain ways..

      I think some people oft

  • >However, it was assumed the Assad regime would be the ones using their chemical weapons stockpile, not the rebels."

    Come on... at this point, Assad's regime has zero credibility. Just like Putin's oligarchy. Both of these regimes are just dictators clinching to their power. Who gives a damn about their opinion.

    • by c ( 8461 ) <beauregardcp@gmail.com> on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:44AM (#43223139)

      Come on... at this point, Assad's regime has zero credibility. Just like Putin's oligarchy.

      I find it convenient to just assume that both sides are lying sacks of shit. This is true whether it be international politics or a bunfight at the local schoolboard level.

      I'm rarely wrong, or disappointed, although sometimes I'll admit to being surprised about the kinds of things people are able to say with a straight face.

      • by sl3xd ( 111641 )

        I find it convenient to just assume that both sides are lying sacks of shit.

        I decided long ago there were no "good guys" in the conflict. The rest becomes a question of how to handle the situation best.

        - It's clear that it's a civil war.
        - I'm not seeing reports of systematic extermination, which is good.
        - There are a huge number of refugees, and they deserve help and protection.
        - This seems suspiciously well-timed with France's efforts to lift the EU arms embargo.
        - I hope that the US is merely cautious abou

      • When people took to the streets, Assad had been promising change and concessions practically every week, but nothing happened and all the protestors got was bullets. And Putin, he has been busy consolidating his grip on power by surgically eliminating political opponents and even the slightest hint of dissent, while establishing a propaganda machinery in the media filled with populist-patriotic rhetoric. This is the guy who is exchanging compliments and presents with Silvio Berlusconi and who is congratulat

        • Just to clarify, I'm not saying that it's out of the question that the rebels used the chemical weapons, especially as they have extremist/islamist factions among their ranks. I'm just saying that anything Assad's regime or Russia have to say on the situation is worthless.

        • by c ( 8461 )

          So please, when it comes to Putin, Assad and their like, don't reproach me with your "lets be intellectual about this" fair and balanced view. These guys are scumbags as everyone with eyes on their foreheads should be able to see.

          Of course they're scumbags. You don't even have to mention names or specific countries and we know they're scumbags. Assad is running a middle eastern country, and Putin is operating a kleptocracy. You do not get to operate at that level in those environments without being more bru

    • Given the kind of shit that some of the rebel groups (most notably, al-Nusra) have been engaging in, they have zero credibility as well.

  • Pallywood production.
  • Oblig. Homer Simpson quote: "And we can't watch FOX because they have those chemical weapons plants in Syria..."
  • "The Russian foreign ministry has said it has enough information to confirm the rebels launched the chemical attack." It must be true, then.

    Those who are buying this should go look up this word: Iraq.
  • Syrian maskirovka (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @09:34AM (#43223045)
    In all likelihood, this is a maskirovka on the part of al-Assad's regime. There is clearly both a domestic and international motivation behind this: first of all, regime supporters will believe without question that it was undertaken by the rebels, which would in turn only harden even further their support-perhaps this was even an attempt to stem the flow of desertions, as supposedly within the past 2 weeksa brigadier general and several soldiers have defected to the opposition-while discrediting and demonizing the rebels. Internationally, this claim gives them percieved legitimacy for more open use of chemical weapons in a "retaliatory" response. They were probavbly also well aware that Russia would support them, and counter any claim made by the US, UK, and other pro-opposition states. Ultimately, they may be hoping to force unilateral action by the US: as long as al-Assad has Russia in his camp, he has de facto veto power in the UN Security Council. I think this is al-Assad's trump card: he is hoping the US is afraid to get embroiled in another Middle East war, and is bettig that he can keep himself from turning into another Gaddhafi.
    • One side is not a cynical villain eating puppies while stroking his white cat on a chair, whereas the other are the heroes rebel helped by Mr Bond. The way I see it, both side are likely to use any advantage they can , and on the rebel side using the chemical weapon has the advantage that people like you will automagically assign the blame on Assad. If rebel of that country are like rebel of any other country, a good fraction is probably made of thugs in for the possibiltiy of looting , raping, and murderi
    • Damn, and I'm all out of mod points. It is much more likely that this was an attack by the Syrian government than that it was launched by the rebels on one of their few successful take-overs.

      Hold on to your hats, it's gonna be a wild ride.

  • what wrong with dousing the power and money grubbing scum running one's country into the ground with corrosive acrid poisons? Hmmmm, I know a place that needs that worse than Syria.......

  • by jafiwam ( 310805 ) on Wednesday March 20, 2013 @10:34AM (#43223655) Homepage Journal

    Only 25 people. Chlorine, used for a wide variety of civilian and industry purposes, all legit and reasonable uses.

    Guys trusting in allah to let their bullets find their targets are very likely to hit and puncture a lot of stuff that could leak.

    That equals ho hum big deal, someone hit a tank of something, or some refrigeration unit, or whatever.

    Wake me up when it's several hundred people and there's evidence it was a military deployment of some kind not just hearsay from two sides who are both obviously lying through their teeth about everything and anything.

  • tech.slashdot.org/story/13/03/20/0256259/possible-chemical-weapons-use-in-syria

  • The first casualty in war is the truth - doubly so in a 'civil' war.

Ernest asks Frank how long he has been working for the company. "Ever since they threatened to fire me."