What Asad regime lies tell us about chemical weapons use

Posted by Caabu on 05 Sep 2013

What Asad regime lies tell us about chemical weapons use
by Chris Doyle


There is nothing new in the Asad regime telling massive lies, the truth has been a rarer occurrence. Most recently we have heard that 90 per cent of the Syrian opposition are al Qaida. (The latter would be grateful for the gross exaggeration of its strength). My favourite was when apparently Al Jazeera had poisoned the entire water supply of Dara’a with hallucinogenic drugs, and the authorities knew this because the pills used all had the network’s logo on them.


Yet huge lies can be very revealing. On 4 September, Boutheina Shaban, the long-time close aide of both Bashar al Asad and his father Hafez, did a round of British TV interviews. But it was her interview on Sky News that was highly revealing.


“They kidnapped the children and men from the villages of Lattakia [on the coast] and they brought them here [Ghouta, over 300 km away east of Damascus] and used chemical weapons against them. That is the story that the villagers, that these villagers know”


Firstly, here is another clear acceptance by a key member of Asad’s inner circle that chemical weapons were used. It can be assumed therefore that the UN inspectors will find evidence of chemical weapons use, though their mandate does not allow them to allocate blame.


Secondly, it is such an outlandish claim that it actually indicates guilt on the part of the regime.  It is not necessary to go all the way to Lattakia to find Asad supporters or Alawis to gas. They could have staged the gassing near Lattakia and saved themselves the trouble. How would they have transported all these people across a war zone? Then the victims would have had to have played an extraordinary role in all the videos taken across a wide area in multiple locations. It is of course not credible. The regime had all sorts of other concocted stories it could have used which may have sounded mildly plausible. This is not one.


Finally,  if the regime truly believed that al Qaida (remember nearly all the opposition are al Qaida according to the regime) had chemical weapons only miles from the centre of Damascus, there would be panic in Asad circles fearing that such agents would be used on them imminently. No such panic has been reported.

All of this is not lost on Syrians. On social media Shaban’s comment was widely mocked. This is just one example showing once again how Syrians, even at the darkest moments, have not lost their sense of humour.





Last Passenger


Lattakia – Ghouta


On the Boutheina Shaban Hob–Hob (Syrian country mini bus) for chemical transport