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Chemical weapons in hands of Daesh, real threat: Analyst

A file picture taken on January 13, 2014 shows people being treated at a field hospital in the city of Daraya, southwest of the Syrian capital, Damascus. (Photo by AFP)

Press TV has interviewed James Jatras, a former US Senate foreign policy analyst, about the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) expressing deep concern over the possible production of chemical weapons by Daesh terrorists.

The following is a rough transcription of the interview.

Press TV: As far as the use of chemical weapons as well as the possible production of them by Daesh terrorists is an alarm that was sounded by the Syrian government as well as the Iraqi government in the past, why is it that only now the OPCW and the mainstream media is giving it the attention that it deserves?

Jatras: Well first off the mainstream media here in the United States is not giving it the attention that it deserves. As far as the OPCW goes maybe this has to do with bureaucratic inertia or perhaps with some of the countries that are influential in it.

The fact is that chemical weapons are very real threat not only in the hands of Daesh but in the hands of al-Nusra and of other terrorist groups in Syria. We all recall in 2013 when Barack Obama almost led an American attack on Syria based on a false accusation that the government had used sarin gas in Ghouta and just recently in this country we had the revelation that Hillary Clinton approved a red line of Gaddafi’s weapons going from Libya to terrorist groups in Syria and this may have included sarin.

So this is a very real danger for the use of these chemical weapons and unfortunately the Western governments have been completely derelict in policing this.  

Press TV: Well I am glad you brought up the 2013 decision to almost attack Syria on the part of the Barack Obama administration. However, let’s not forget that was defused, so to speak, by a deal between Russia and the US making Syria give up its chemical weapons under the watchful eye of the OPCW. However, I am just curious, had the same urgency been given to this issue of Daesh and other terrorist organizations acquiring chemical weapons or chemicals to produce chemical weapons, wouldn’t we not be in the situation right now?   

Jatras: No we would not be but then the entire policy of not only Washington but are regional allies - Ankara and Riyadh - would be completely down the drain, that they know that they are supporting terrorists, they are not particular about what kind of weapons the terrorists are using, they will make all sorts of noise about Assad, Assad chemical weapons but they turn a blind eye when the terrorists have this capability.

As far as 2013 of course yes, of course President Putin threw President Obama a lifeline but this is when he was in trouble in the United States because across the political spectrum - left, right and center - Americans were rising up against this. He was in big trouble and he was lucky that Putin bailed him out.

Press TV: And now that we are in this situation, what next as the OPCW sounds the alarm over the use of and production of the chemical weapons in the hands of a group which has not shied away from using it against civilian populations?

Jatras: That is right and frankly I do not know that this revelation will do that much because as I say here in America the mainstream media simply do not make note of this. It is almost something that is a sideshow because they are so dependent on government propaganda for their so-called news report.

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