It makes 'perfect sense' that Assad thinks Syrian civil war is too easy and wants to make it a lot harder for himself
In August-September 2013 Syria came within inches of being bombed by the US. The reason? The alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government.
Obama only pulled back when his intelligence services told him the idea sarin poison gas was deployed by Assad was “not a slam dunk”.
Next Russia brokered a deal whereby Syria would give up its entire weapons stockpile. Damascus was freaked out enough by how close it got to being bombed that it agreed.
By June 2014 all declared chemical weapons were destroyed in a program supervised by US and Russia.
So then in 2017, with the battlefield situation looking far better than in mid 2013, in fact better than at any time since then, Assad pulled out some chemicals he had hid away to do the one thing virtually guaranteed to land him in a world of trouble? The one thing that very nearly got him bombed four years ago?
To be true after 2013 opposition accusations leveled at Syrian army that it was using chemical weapons never stopped. However these allegations failed to create the brouhaha (and the accompanying intervention danger) we are seeing now for two simple reasons. One is that opposition did not have a CNN-friendly video ready, and the other that the agent claimed to have been used was always chlorine.
Chlorine is a widely used industrial chemical that is not actually banned, albeit it can be made into a -- rather crappy -- weapon. It being readily accessible it was just too easy to think that if chlorine was indeed found at places the opposition was pointing at, it could have easily been put there by the said opposition.
Other than the video and the claim that the agent deployed was sarin we went through the same exercise multiple times already since 2013, right down to America's emotional performances at the UN. The last time just this February when Nikki Haley thundered:
It is ridiculous. How much longer is Russia going to continue to babysit and make excuses for the Syrian regime? People have died by being suffocated to death. That’s barbaric.
So what we’re going to do is – we were given all these reasons on why we shouldn’t propose the resolution. We were given all these reasons on why the timing was wrong. That is exactly why the timing is right. That is exactly why this resolution needs to happen.
Whether people are going to veto it or not, you are either for chemical weapons or you’re against it. People died because of this, and the United States isn’t going to be quiet. Thank you.
But as said, ultimately it came to nothing and had no effect on the Syrian civil war on the ground.
So yeah maybe in 2013 Assad kept some sarin around in case if he wanted to set himself up for a nice bombing years later. Hey, it's possible.
Or maybe the opposition, which was already accusing the army of using poison gas every Wednesday, finally figured out that to make it stick they needed it to be sarin and they needed a video. Then as luck would have it, the very fist time since 2013 when sarin, rather than chlorine, has been deployed opposition cameras are there to capture it. The very first Syria gas attack in Syria to be caught on film! (Albeit the very video from the opposition raises doubt about sarin allegations.)
Meanwhile months after the 2013 sarin attack Seymour Hersh discovered the nerve agent, which originated in Turkey, was actually deployed by rebels and made to look like a government attack. That was a year after Obama had stated to the world that if Syrian government deployed chemical weapons he would intervene against it militarily.
Wonder what we will know about this one months from now.