9/3 US to Bomb Syria as Planned Long Ago

U.S. majority oppose Syria strike and arming rebels : Post-ABC poll
Nearly 6 in 10 Americans... oppose strikes by double digit margins, with deep opposition among every political and demographic group...7 in 10 oppose arming Syrian rebels as authorized by President Obama in June.

Senators strike deal authorizing force against Syria
9/3/13 8:35 pm http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/09/03/senators...
Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee reached an agreement late Tuesday on the wording of a new resolution authorizing U.S. military force against the Syrian government. The resolution permits up to 60 days of military action against Syrian President al-Assad's government and gives US President Obama the option to extend military operations by 30 days pending congressional notification, according to Senate aides.

Feb. 2009 Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry, President Bashar al-Assad, and their wives, Teresa Heinz and Asma al-Assad, the First Lady of Syria,dining in Damascus. According to The Daily Telegraph, Mr. Kerry met with Mr Assad at least six times,... in a press conference he stated: “President Barack Obama's administration considers Syria a key player in Washington's efforts to revive the stalled Middle East peace process.Syria is an essential player in bringing peace and stability to the region".
Aug. 2013, Secretary of State Kerry, pushing for a military strike to 'punish' Syria accused of a suspected chemical attack, called President Assad a "thug", and "today's Hitler"

9/3/13 Foreign Policy Situation Report , Gordon Lubold
According to WSJ's Adam Entous and Nour Malas, this morning: "The delay, in part, reflects a broader U.S. approach rarely discussed publicly but that underpins its decision-making, according to former and current U.S. officials: three months after the CIA was given authorization to arm Syrian rebels, the rebels are still waiting. The WSJ's Adam Entous and Nour Malas, this morning: "The delay, in part, reflects a broader U.S. approach rarely discussed publicly but that underpins its decision-making, according to former and current U.S. officials: The Obama administration doesn't want to tip the balance in favor of the opposition for fear the outcome may be even worse for U.S. interests than the current stalemate....
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace unveils a new report today ,the first detailed analysis on a pesky issue to the Pentagon: how to get weapons on targets speedily without making the Russians and others fear the U.S. is using nukes. James Acton looks at Conventional Prompt Global Strike weapons and the "capability gap" the DoD confronts when it comes to places like Iran or North Korea, where the U.S. would likely want to put weapons on distant targets quickly....[where] there are only two options, analysts argue: cruise missiles or bomb-laden jets slower to get on target, or ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads...[which] can stir fears among countries who might misidentify an incoming missile as nuclear-armed and launch a nuclear strike of their own... known as "warhead ambiguity"

Iran Warned US about 9 months ago chemical weapons going to Syria
Iran's Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, said Iran warned the USA in an official memo, issued through the Swiss Embassy which functions as US interests section in Iran, that handmade articles of chemical weapons, including Sarin gas, are being transferred to Syria. 

US-NATO provides deadly weapons to its proxy 'Syrian rebels' via israel and arab client states and the 'al-qaeda' Al Nusrah gang it branded terrorist before it became useful
UN investigator testimony: Syrian rebels used sarin gas:
5/5/13 Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/sns-rt-us-syria-crisis-unbre94409z-20...

Syrian Military seizes Sarin Gas from 'rebels'
The Syrian Arab News Agency SANA reports the Syrian Army seized two containers with Sarin nerve gas. This seizure of the banned chemical followed the recent seizure of two cylinders with Sarin from 12 members of the al-Nusrah front by Turkish law-enforcement....

Syrian rebels creating unified command
12/09/2012 http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/08/world/meast/syria-civil-war/index.html
...The Syrian foreign ministry reiterated its position that it will not use chemical weapons, if it possesses any, under any circumstances, the state news agency SANA reported Saturday
In two letters addressed to the U.N. Security Council and the U.S. Secretary-General, the Syrian ministry warned "terrorist groups might resort to using chemical weapons against the Syrian people... after the terrorist groups recently took hold of a chlorine processing plant to the east of Aleppo city," according to SANA....
US calls for unity came amid concerns about the increasing radicalization of some armed opposition factions...it fears will lead to fighting, not political efforts deciding the outcome in Syria...
The US will formally recognize the newly formed Syrian National Coalition as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people....The Free Syrian Army hopes for the same support as it attempts to unify....Recent U.S. intelligence suggests the Syrian government has started mixing chemical weapons compounds and loading them into bombs, though the bombs are not being moved to delivery devices, CNN's Barbara Starr reported. The concern is not only that the Syrian regime may use chemical weapons, but that they could fall into the hands of terrorist groups.

Sources: U.S. helping underwrite Syrian rebel training on securing chemical weapons
12/09/2012 http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/09/sources-defense-contractors-tra... Elise Labott
The United States and some allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels in Jordan, on monitoring, securing and handling chemical weapon sites and materials in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday... Some of the contractors are on the ground in Syria working with the rebels...The nationality of the trainers was not disclosed, though the officials cautioned against assuming all are American....

Syrian Opposition Details Suspected Chemical Weapons Attack
8/28/13 http://www.voanews.com/content/syrian-opposition-details-suspected-chemi...

"...the BND analysis is similar to that produced by the US..."
German Intelligence Offers Clue in Search for Truth in Syria
9/3/13 http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/german-intelligence-contribute...
Germany said it will not participate in a strike on Syria without United Nations Security Council backing. But the Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), agrees with the US position which holds Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible for the poison gas attacks near Damascus Aug. 21. In a secret briefing to select lawmakers BND head Gerhard Schindler said while there is still no incontestable proof, analysis of evidence at hand led his intelligence agency to believe Assad's regime is to blame.
The BND analysis is similar to that produced by the US report ...Schindler said the BND intercepted a telephone call in which a doctor precisely described several of the symptoms patients suffered from -- and they were all consistent with exposure to sarin...he said the BND listened in on a conversation between a high-ranking member of the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which supports Assad and provides his regime with military assistance, and the Iranian Embassy. The Hezbollah functionary, Schindler reported, seems to have admitted that poison gas was used. He said that Assad lost his nerves and made a big mistake by ordering the chemical weapons attack. The new BND information could be important in the coming days. Thus far the US has only noted that after the attack, intelligence agencies had intercepted internal government communications indicating concern about a possible UN inspection of the site. The telephone conversation intercepted by the BND could be an important piece in the puzzle currently being assembled by Western intelligence experts...
Despite its refusal to take part in a strike on Syria, Germany's military is nevertheless preparing for a possible escalation should the US and France take action. The German warship Sachsen is currently in the Mediterranean and is prepared to evacuate Germans and other foreigners from Lebanon should the need arise. An internal check is likewise underway to determine what assistance might be available to Jordan in the event of a chemical weapons attack from Syria.
Furthermore, a German ship outfitted with highly sensitive surveillance equipment is currently stationed off the coast of Syria. It is able to intercept telephone and other radio communications deep inside the war-torn country. The German military indicated on Monday that it would likely remain there even in the case of a US attack. Sources say, however, that the ship was unable to deliver useful intelligence related to the chemical weapons attacks due to the mountains between Damascus and the coastline..

Has Assad crossed ‘red line’? Graphic video footage claiming to show victims of nerve gas attack, but doubts cast on evidence of use of chemical weapons
....The picture from accounts by Western and Middle Eastern officials and members of the Syrian opposition is this: tests so far have not yielded conclusive results; they have been based on blood, hair and soil samples as well as photographs and video footage; the samples have not been collected independently by investigators but handed over by the rebels and at least on one occasion, by Turkish intelligence; some of the footage may have been faked; the tests were carried out at the UK Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and in America. Conclusions on them vary within US intelligence agencies, and the experience of Iraq and WMD is a source of caution among officials in Washington and London.
Dr Sally Leivesley, a chemical and biological analyst, and former scientific adviser to the Home Office, said: “There are things here which do not add up. A chemical attack using Sarin would leave mass fatalities and very few people alive. From what one hears about the symptoms it’s possible a harassing (crowd control) agent not a nerve agent was used. The latest ones show people with an eye disorder does not mean chemical or Sarin was involved. Some of the earlier photos we saw were odd: people in masks and gloves, supposedly doctors, touching the victims – something which will not happen. The symptoms we’ve seen could be caused by other elements, such as chlorine.What is considered ‘evidence’ of the presence of chemical elements in things like hair samples could be something like pesticide, the reason US agencies want to wait for further tests. Could there have been some faking? Possibly..."
Analysts are also puzzled by the way regime supposedly used its WMD arsenal. Dr Ralf Trapp, a specialist on chemical proliferation, said: “From a military perspective, it doesn’t make sense to use chemical weapons bit by bit. Why would the regime just put it on a grenade here or a rocket launcher there? It’s just not the way you expect a military force to act.” ...

To some, US case for Syrian gas attack, strike has too many holes
updated 9/3/13 07:18:38 AM http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/09/02/201027/to-some-us-case-for-syrian-... By Hannah Allam and Mark Seibel
WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime.The case Secretary of State John Kerry laid out last Friday contained claims disputed by the UN, inconsistent in some details with British and French intelligence reports or lacking sufficient transparency for international chemical weapons experts to accept at face value.
After the false weapons claims preceding the US.-led invasion of Iraq, the threshold for evidence to support intervention is exceedingly high...there are calls from many quarters for scientific, independent evidence to support the US .narrative of an Assad regime sarin gas operation that killed 1,429 people, including more than 400 children. Some U.S. points in question:
The Obama administration dismissed the value of a UN. inspection team’s work saying investigators arrived too late for the findings to be credible and wouldn’t provide any information the US didn’t already have. UN spokesman Farhan Haq countered ... that “passage of such few days does not affect the opportunities to collect valuable samples,” according to the UN website. For example, sarin can be detected in biomedical samples months after its use. US claims that sarin was used Aug. 21, citing a positive test on first responders’ hair and blood – samples “ provided to the United States,” Kerry said on television Sunday...a New York Times report noted two human rights groups dispatched a forensics team to northern Iraq in 1992 and found trace evidence of sarin as well as mustard gas four years after a chemical attack. The US assertion is also disputed in the British government intelligence summary report made public last week. "There is no immediate time limit over which environmental or physiological samples degrade beyond usefulness," according to the report distributed to Parliament ahead of its vote not to permit Britain to participate in any strike.
Another point of dispute is the death toll from the alleged attacks on Aug. 21. Neither Kerry’s remarks nor the unclassified version of the US intelligence he referenced explained how the US reached a tally of 1,429, including 426 children. The only attribution was “a preliminary government assessment.”
Anthony Cordesman, former senior defense official now with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, took aim at the death toll discrepancies in an essay Sunday. He criticized Kerry..." using an absurdly over-precise number” of 1,429, noting that number didn’t agree with either the British assessment of “at least 350 fatalities” or other opposition sources, namely the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which confirmed 502 dead, including about 100 children and "tens" of rebel fighters, and demanded that Kerry provide the names of the victims included in the US tally.“President Obama was then forced to round the number as ‘well over 1,000 people’ – creating a mix of contradictions over the most basic facts,” Cordesman wrote.... reminiscent of “...Secretary (Colin) Powell’s speech to the UN on Iraq in 2003.”
An unclassified intelligence report on Syria it released Monday, France confirmed 281 fatalities, though it agreed with the US the regime used chemical weapons in the alleged Aug. 21 attack.

Another eyebrow-raising administration claim was that US intelligence “collected streams of human, signals and geospatial intelligence” that showed the regime preparing for an attack three days before the event...that regime personnel were in an area known to be used to “mix chemical weapons, including sarin,” and that regime forces prepared for the Aug. 21 attack by putting on gas masks. That claim raises two questions: Why didn’t the US. warn rebels about the impending attack and save hundreds of lives? And why did the administration keep mum about the suspicious activity when on at least one previous occasion US officials raised an international fuss when they observed similar actions? Dec. 3, 2012, after they said they detected Syria mixing ingredients for chemical weapons, President Barack Obama repeated his warning to Assad... of the red line he imposed that summer. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton chimed in and the UN withdrew all nonessential staff from Syria. Last month’s suspicious activity, however, wasn’t raised publicly until after the deadly attack. And Syrian opposition say they weren’t warned in advance...““Everyone was watching this evidence but didn’t take any action...they knew three days before the attack and never alerted anyone in the area?” said Radwan Ziadeh, a Syrian opposition activist who runs the Washington-based Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies.
Among chemical weapons experts and other analysts who’ve closely studied the Syrian battlefield, the main reservation about the US claims is the methodology behind the intelligence-gathering... questions as to how the evidence was collected, the integrity of the chain of custody of such samples, and which laboratories were involved.
Eliot Higgins, a British chronicler of the Syrian civil war who writes the Brown Moses blog, a widely cited repository of information on the weapons observed on the Syrian battlefield, wrote a detailed blog post Monday listing photographs and videos that seem to support US claims the Assad regime has munitions that could be used to deliver chemical weapons. But Higgins asked: “How do we know these are chemical weapons? That’s the thing, we don’t. As I’ve said all along, these are munitions linked to alleged chemical attacks, not chemical munitions used in chemical attacks. It’s ultimately up to the UN to confirm if chemical weapons were used.”
Holes in the case allowed Russia to dismiss US evidence with Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying in a speech Monday that Moscow was shown “some sketches, but there was nothing concrete, no geographical coordinates or details…and no proof the test was done by professionals. When we ask for further clarification, we receive the following response: ‘you are aware this is classified information, therefore we cannot show it to you’.So there are still no facts.” according to the RT state news agency...
But there’s also skepticism among US---friendly nations, such as Jordan, which declined to endorse action until it studies the findings of a UN chemical weapons investigation, and the UK, where Parliament voted against intervention even before the US released the intelligence assessment that contradicted the one released a day before by British authorities.It’s unclear how much a factor the evidence was in Parliament’s decisions; there’s a high degree of wariness of any US---led intervention after the Iraq experience....
US allies across the Arab world and Europe have said they prefer delaying potential military strikes until after the UN inspection team releases its findings...its mandate however is only to determine whether chemical weapons were used, but not to assign culpability... Jonathan Landay in Amman, Jordan, Matthew Schofield in Berlin and Special Correspondent Mitchell Prothero in Beirut contributed to this report.