US Says It’s No ‘Slam Dunk’ Linking Assad to Chemical Weapons Attack


no slam dunk

Photo of Mr. Obama having shot a basketball. It was no slam dunk.

[AP]  Talk Show Host Bill O’Reilly said Wednesday evening that claiming Assad didn’t fire the chemical weapons is simply a conspiracy theory. He was wrong! On Thursday, US intelligence officials said linking Bashar Assad to the chemical weapons attack is no ‘slam dunk.’

US officials now say that questions remain about who actually controls some of Syria’s chemical weapons stores. Doubts about whether Assad ordered the strike himself linger.

An intercept pointed to a lower-level official firing the weapon with no direct link back to Assad or his higher level officials.

On Wednesday, Mr. Obama said unequivocally that the Syrian government was responsible as he prepared to launch a US strike.

“We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out,” Obama said in an interview with “NewsHour” on PBS. “And if that’s so, then there need to be international consequences.”

On Monday, Kerry said the links to Assad were ‘undeniable.’ “We know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons,” Kerry said. “We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place.”

Biden, who once said that going to war without congressional approval was an impeachable offense, has been a vocal supporter of a strike on Syria. Mr. Obama is not going to seek the approval of Congress but will run it by them Thursday. Joe Biden said Tuesday that there is “no doubt” that Syrian President Bashar al Assad was responsible for the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

While they still contend Assad likely is connected, that assertion is filled with caveats.

Congress will be briefed Thursday. They might give the president an excuse to pull out. Britain has already backed off.

Mr. Obama’s full-steam ahead approach, along with his leaks about where, when and why we will attack, will add to our image that we don’t know what we are doing.

The US cannot pinpoint the exact locations of Assad’s supplies and weapons, probably because Obama has given them five-days notice and counting.

We’ve also lost track of the supplies in the last 2 1/2 year’s of the war. The US has only assigned a few hundred operatives to Syria since the war began, so, having little intelligence about where these disastrous weapons are, should have been expected.

It is not known if the rebels have the capability to launch the chemical weapons. Assad has allowed UN inspectors to the site of the attack and has said that his forces were in the area and he would not attack his own forces.