Thursday, April 25, 2013

British fmr. Head of CW unit: "The US is right to be cautious about Israeli , British & French claims of CW in Syria!'"

"... Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, head of the counter chemical warfare company SecureBio and the former commanding officer of the army’s chemical weapons unit, said the US was right to cautious about Israeli, British and French claims that nerve agent have been used by the Syrian government. .
People like myself and others went to war in Iraq on some pretty spurious WMD “intelligence”. So everybody ... the US government and the UK government ... are very circumspect. If the red line is cross, as Obama said that would be a game changer. Getting ground troops involved in Syria would be a hugely challenging area and I’m sure Obama and Cameron are trying to avoid that at all costs.
De Bretton-Gordon pointed out that this could establish whether chemical weapons had been used, but not who had fired them.
The difficulty is the chain of evidence ... The only true way this done can be done, is by the UN getting in on the ground. Is Assad going let the UN come and do it? I don’t see it at the moment?
In my professional opinion that sort of evidence [gathered outside Syria] would be very difficult for somebody to use as crossing the red line and a game changer. Very good background, but I don’t think it would be demonstrative enough to say this chemical weapons has been used here, by the regime or the opposition.
Britain’s claim that Syrian troops were poisoned by nerve agents in a friendly fire incident is a possible “explanation”, De Bretton-Gordon said.
But he added:
I’m not so sure that perhaps the opposition haven’t been using what I would call improvised weapons. There are lots of reports of CL-17 being used which is domestic chlorine, and there is evidence that organophosphates have been used ...
It is potentially plausible that each side has tried to frame the other by using improvised chemical weapons, or actual chemical weapons.
If sarin was used, you would expect to see many more casualties.
De Bretton-Gordon denied that the US appeared to be shifting its red line on chemical weapons in Syria.
Every day I get sent stuff from inside country, saying this what’s happening, but none of it is absolutely conclusive. The US might be prevaricating, but I don’t think they are changing their view on the red line, it is just very difficult to prove. That step of intervention is something I don’t think anybody in the world wants at this stage.

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