Tensions in already volatile Syria have risen to alarmingly high levels, with threats of military action from different players involved in the conflict looming large. The United States, encouraged by its allies, has upped the ante by threatening to respond militarily to an alleged chemical strike which they attribute to Syrian government forces, but which Damascus argues is only a fabrication meant to slow its advances. Russia has in turn warned against military strikes targeting Syria, saying it would not hesitate to retaliate. Press TV has talked to Marcus Papadopoulos, publisher and editor of Politics First, as well as Brent Budowsky, columnist of The Hill, to discuss the issue.
Marcus Papadopoulos believes there is no evidence to prove that Damascus was behind the chemical weapons attack in Douma, adding that the United States and its allies are using that narrative as an excuse to expand their dominance in the Middle East.
“The allegation by the Americans and their allies that the Syrian government used chemical weapons in Douma is a very serious one and I welcome the decision by the Russian and Syrian governments to invite inspectors from the OPCW. That is the responsible thing to do. That is in line with international law,” he said, adding, “But regrettably, the Americans and their allies, principally the British, have a point to themselves as judge, jury and executioner. They have not provided any evidence whatsoever to corroborate their assertion that the Syrian government used chemical weapons… So we need to be extremely cautious about what the Americans and the British are saying.”
He also noted the US allegations against Syria could provoke a conflict with Russia that might escalate into a nuclear war and engulf the entire planet.
The analyst further pointed to the fact that Syria has destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile. Therefore, he said, the finger of blame should be pointed at various terrorist groups who are trying to bring the Americans into the conflict in Syria.
The Syrian government surrendered its stockpiles of chemical weapons in 2014 to a joint mission led by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which oversaw the destruction of the weaponry.
It has also consistently denied using chemical weapons over the course of the foreign-backed militancy, which has gripped the country since 2011.
Western governments and their allies, however, have never stopped pointing the finger at Damascus whenever an apparent chemical attack takes place.
Papadopoulos further opined that the US involvement in Syria is about ending Russia’s influence and power in the Middle East.
According to the analyst, Russia should respond to any US military strike on Syria, because if it does not, then its credibility will be weakened in the world and the door will be open for further American direct intervention in the war-torn Arab country.
Meanwhile, Brent Budowsky, the other panelist on the program, said that the United States is “far from alone” in maintaining that the Syrian government was behind the chemical attack in Douma.
“The United States is joined by many countries in Europe and in the Middle East as well. So it is not an issue of jumping to conclusions, it is an issue of the international experts that have so far weighed in, they strongly believe that was done by Syria,” he stated.
The analyst further expressed doubt that the US policy would be to pull out of Syria, predicting that Washington would engage in some form of military retaliation, followed by sanctions against Moscow and Damascus.
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