Columns, Opinion

BURKE: Are there chemical weapons in Syria?

On Tuesday, an attack on the rebel-held Syrian town of Khan Shaykhun killed 58 people. It is not immediately clear which regime-backed force carried out the attack.

One thing is clear: people were killed by suffocation, an almost surefire sign that chemical weapons were used. This is not the first time that Bashar al-Assad’s regime has been found to be using chemical weapons against the people of Syria, with the United Nations finding at least three separate incidents since 2014.

Syria is currently a land of turmoil, with many different groups fighting for power. When you read headlines like these, it makes sense why the area is in such disarray. Imagine waking up one day to the sounds of jet planes overhead, hearing a long whistle then having your house crash upon you. In this case, not only does the house collapse and burn, but your ability to breathe is stricken from you.

It is absurd to think of this scenario. I can’t process it at all. There are innocent people who have to essentially decide between which way they want to die. Do they want to be killed by their own government or would they rather have their heads chopped off by ISIS? This is no way to live, and it seems like no one around the globe is doing anything to stop it.

In fact, one country in particular seems to be perpetuating the problem. In 2015, Russia announced that they would come together with the Assad regime to help defeat the terrorists that had invaded Syria. While this may seem like a good idea, Russia seems to support Assad and whatever he chooses to do to citizens. After this most recent attack, there was no condemning heard from the Russians. They usually stay silent and I expect them to continue this absurd trend.

The Chemical Weapons Convention was entered into force on April 29, 1997, banning all use of chemical weapons as well as destroying all previously made chemical weapons. Most of the nations in the UN signed this and agreed to have this done by 2012. After doing some research, I found that Russia never completed their agreement, revealing to the UN that they still had chemical weapons. Syria, on the other hand, told the UN in a letter that the chemical weapons they possessed were completely eradicated in 2013.

It’s unclear if Assad’s letter can be trusted. But, when I look at the situation and see that the only time Syria has been accused of using chemical weapons was when Russia started to get involved, I get suspicious. I get even more suspicious when I hear that Russia never destroyed all of their chemical weapons.

Other countries need to stop being so silent on this issue. The only reason for this silence is the headache that comes with dealing with the instability of the Middle East. This silence goes back to the years of the Obama administration, when they simply denounced the act and offered sanctions against Syria. Something more needs to be done to fix this problem. Forget the politics of the situation — this is a humanitarian crisis that absolutely needs to be resolved.

President Donald Trump seemed to continue this path of fake empathy by saying in a statement: “President Obama said in 2012 that he would establish a ‘red line’ against the use of chemical weapons and then did nothing. The United States stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this intolerable attack.” This is insane that this is the official word from our elected leader.

Instead of acting on the situation like a world leader should, Trump took the time to use the situation for personal political gain. This denouncement was empty-hearted and lacked the right intentions. We need leaders that are willing to step in to situations that aren’t going to be easy to win. We need to stop hiding behind unmanned guns and actually do something.

One Comment

  1. While I think that we can all agree that there were some innocent people who died during this latest chemical weapons attack in Syria, but one should not assume that all of those killed were necessarily innocent. I think that most of us feel a deep sadness whenever we may hear of such tragedies whenever innocent people do die though. The loss of innocent life should sadden any person with normally rational thinking within a civilized society.

    While it is evident that chemical weapons were most likely involved during the latest suspected chemical attack in Syria, however I am shocked at the number of news people, many who are normally pacifists in every since of the word, who have suddenly came out of the woodwork, throwing questions at our current republican leadership, seemingly demanding that some form of immediate retaliatory action needs be done to wipe out the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad or to even go after Russia, one of their few allies. Yes, to my amazement, and without any real evidence other than that of the dead bodies which are laying in pictures for us all to see, we are seemingly being beguiled by our main stream news media in this knee jerk reaction without any real evidence against Syria or even Russia.

    In fact, I seem to recall that several stories had surfaced back in 2016 exposing a possible US involvement with a radicalized Islamic group which may have been supplied such chemical weapons, which could have eventually have been used in Syria. There was even video evidence provided in some of the news stories exposing this concern and no one in the main stream news media seems to be able to …. connect-the-dots, as they say.

    So basically, there seems to be no planned investigations of such alleged evidence that such weapons were being made in Iraq under US and under the UN watch which may have possibly taken place; most likely as this would not fit the narrative of those who are wanting to be the ones who are “calling the shots” in Washington.

    In fact, some military and former government personnel have recently come out saying that it is very possible that certain elements within some of the US governments 17 security agencies may have helped facilitate those who potentially carried out this latest chemical attack, possibly creating a “False Flag” event which may have just taken place in Syria.

    All of us as Americans, and especially those of us who as parents of our children, who must fight in other peoples’ wars, we should be very concerned over the ever increasing mantra from those within the main stream media, which repeatedly claim the Syrian involvement in such a horrible attack, which is very convenient for the War Hawks who are now beating the drums of war. But what concerns me the most is how the main stream news media and other related journalists are seeming now wanting the United States to ratchet up the military response, even up to possibly a full scale war, as they appear to want to blame this latest event on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and of the Syrian people who are struggling against the entire world which has pitted themselves against a very small county which probably has less people than the state of Alabama.

    That said, any reasonable thinking person would know that for Syria to use chemical weapons would almost guarantee that there would be a swift and sure response from the United States and the United Nations, therefore getting us involved once again into this terrible Syrian quagmire, which some say that President Barack Hussein Obama helped orchestrate during the Arab Spring which he so proudly supported and touted as a model for the rest of the world. Oh, I forgot, that is everywhere except within the Saudi Kingdom or within the United States, as his new executive orders which he signed now gives the president near dictator powers against anyone or any group which would dare challenge the sovereignty of the all powerful United States government or of its executive authority giving the president the right to issue an immediate “Kill Order” on whomever he or she may decide has crossed some imaginary line and is now no longer protected by the supreme document of the land from which all laws and protection are derived, making the President … Above the Law?

    However, we in the western society haven’t had to endure a blood war like that of Syria since the 1860’s. However, it has been alleged that in the Syrian war was claimed to be a civil war, but we now learn that there are actually about 6 countries which are directly involved and people from about 20 other countries involved in the fighting within this so called Syrian Civil War. There have also been allegations of United States supplying the weapons of war which are causing so many deaths, some of which may be used to once again to blame the Syrian government, but yet once again the MSM is silent. That said, it is time for the liberty and freedom loving people who believe in equal justice for all, to raise our voices and demand facts and not hysteria about Syria and any other event which may happen this week or this month or this year or in the future.