NYT: No Direct Link between Syrian President, Chemical Weapons

World | August 29, 2013, Thursday // 10:22|  views

A photo by EPA/BGNES shows Syrians receiving treatment after an alleged chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs.

There is no "smoking gun" that directly links Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the chemical weapons attack on civilians, the New York Times writes Thursday, citing American officials, speaking off-the-record.

However, the Obama administration says it will make public intelligence information, most likely on Thursday, which will show proof of a large-scale chemical attack perpetrated by Syrian forces, augmenting its case for a retaliatory military strike on Syria.

The public intelligence presentation will not contain specific electronic intercepts of communications between Syrian commanders or detailed reporting from spies and sources on the ground.

The publication notes that this will be the White House's most important public intelligence presentation since February 2003, when Secretary of State Colin Powell made a dramatic and detailed case for war to the United Nations Security Council using intelligence — later discredited — about Iraq's weapons programs.

"But with the botched intelligence about Iraq still casting a long shadow over decisions about waging war in the Middle East, the White House faces an American public deeply skeptical about being drawn into the Syrian conflict and a growing chorus of lawmakers from both parties angry about the prospect of an American president once again going to war without Congressional consultation or approval," the New York Times writes.

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Tags: Bashar Al-Assad, chemical weapons, attacks, Damascus, Syria, Syrian, Walid Muallem, chemical weapons, civil war, US, Barack Obama, Iraq, intelligence presentation, United Nations Security Council, Colin Powel


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