[Marxism] Use of chemical weapons by Syrian rebels

mkaradjis mkaradjis at gmail.com
Fri Apr 20 02:00:16 MDT 2018


That is incorrect Chris. The SA statement on Assad's chemical attack
on Douma refers to "reports of a chemical gas attack on Douma",
meaning you see it as neither confirmed nor do you know for sure who
did it. Yet here you write without any qualifications that the rebels
did use chlorine against Sheikh Maqsud in 2016, as if it has been
proven, and as evidence you provide the Amnesty report. But that
report only makes allegations:

In its May 2016 report correctly condemning rebel groups in Aleppo for
firing unguided missiles in Sheikh Maqsud, killing Kurdish civilians
(https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/syria-armed-opposition-group-committing-war-crimes-aleppo-new-evidence),
Amnesty included this paragraph:

“There are also *allegations* that armed groups attacking Sheikh
Maqsoud have used chemical weapons. A doctor told Amnesty that on 7
and 8 April he treated six civilians and two YPG fighters for symptoms
including shortness of breath, numbness, red eyes and severe coughing
fits. He said that several of the victims reported seeing yellow smoke
as missiles impacted.  A toxicologist consulted by Amnesty, who viewed
video clips of the apparent attack and reviewed the doctor’s
testimony, said the patients’ symptoms *could be* the effects of a
chlorine attack.  A subsequent statement purportedly issued by the
leader of the Army of Islam armed group said that a field commander
had deployed an “unauthorised weapon” on Sheikh Maqsoud and would be
held to account.”

Thus the allegations consist of (1) reports of “shortness of breath,
numbness, red eyes and severe coughing fits” among 6-8 people, which a
toxicologist said “could be the effects of a chlorine attack”, but
also could easily be the effects of “normal” bombing (not to justify
that of course: in fact these rebel attacks were condemned by both the
Syrian Opposition Coalition
http://en.etilaf.org/all-news/news/syrian-coalition-reiterates-calls-for-sparing-syrian-civilians.html
, and the generally pro-opposition Syrian Network for Human Rights
(SNHR)  http://sn4hr.org/wp-content/pdf/english/fsa_attacks_neighborhoods_in_Alepp_city_en.pdf);

(2) one grainy photo somewhere in Sheikh Maqsud that looked like some
yellow dye had been rubbed onto it;

(3) The statement by Ghouta-based Jaysh al-Islam condemning its own
Aleppo branch for using “weapons not authorized for use in these types
of confrontations,” claiming to have disciplined a local commander
(http://aranews.net/2016/04/main-syrian-islamist-rebel-group-punishes-field-commander-massacring-kurds-aleppo/).
There was no indication he was referring to chemical weapons, and yet
the claim that JaI "admitted" to using chemical weapons in this
statement has been reported as fact virtually everywhere, and spread
in particular by the Rojavasphere (the same Rojavasphere that had no
idea who had no idea who attacked Ghouta with chemical weapons in
August 2013). The problem with this Big Lie technique is that JaI
itself claimed that it was referring to “modified Grad rockets,” not
chemical weapons
(https://twitter.com/islamalloush0/status/718410175934263296).

People who read my Ghouta article know I hold a very low opinion of
JaI. However, if they did punish the commander for using weapons that
kill civilians in this case, that is a good thing. JaI needs to be
condemned for things it has done, not for things it hasn’t done and
claims its hasn’t made. It is not my business to prove they didn't do
it; nor does their *denial* that they did it prove that they didn't.
But claiming that they admitted it when they clearly didn't is a
strikingly dishonest way of arguing.


On Fri, Apr 20, 2018 at 5:40 PM, Chris Slee via Marxism
<marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:
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> In a recent interview Stephen Zunes noted that, while the Assad regime has carried out most of the chemical weapon attacks in Syria, including the recent attack on Douma, rebel groups have also carried out some chemical attacks.  Some people have disputed this, but Zunes is correct.
>
> One example is the use of chlorine against the predominantly Kurdish Sheikh Maqsoud neighbourhood in Aleppo in 2016:
>
> https://www.amnesty.org.au/syria-armed-groups-war-crimes-aleppo/
>
> The rebels have used chlorine, not sarin.  Only the Assad regime has used sarin.  Chlorine is much easier to manufacture and handle.  It is also less deadly than sarin.  The symptoms are quite different.
>
> Chris Slee
>
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