Syria’s Chemical Weapons Use: A History and the Hypocrisy

The hypocrisy of imperialist anti-Assad circles in the United States and Europe complaining about the use of chemical weapons in a two-year civil war is stunning. Interventionists that want to kill more people to show that the use of chemical weapons is too inhumane, too destructive, and too much at variance with civilized behaviour should examine themselves.

Yes the use of chemical weapons is banned under International Law. The Chemical Weapons Convention (C.W.C.) is clearly a ban on the use of such weapons. It not only prohibits their use but also the development. C.W. are prohibited and there are very few weapons conventions that actually ban the production AND use of a weapon. There are even fewer conventions of this nature that the warmongering US has ratified. Yet the 1993 C.W.C. was ratified on April 24, 1997 during the Clinton administration. The Senate ratified the convention by 74-26, a comfortable cushion over the two-thirds needed under the Constitution. The C.W.C. although signed in 1993 did not enter into force until April 29, 1997 as an international convention and component of international law. According to the Arms Control Association (A.C.A.) it prohibits:

  • Developing, producing, acquiring, stockpiling, or retaining chemical weapons.
  • The direct or indirect transfer  of chemical weapons.
  • Chemical weapons use or  military preparation for use.
  • Assisting, encouraging, or  inducing other states to engage in CWC-prohibited activity.
  • The use of riot control agents “as a method of warfare.”

The Chemical Weapons Protocol of 1925 is one of my favourites. Taking place in the wake of World War II which probably represented the first use of chemical weapons at Ypres in Belgium, it was part of a decade’s long effort to end war: from the Washington Naval Conference (1921-1922) to Kellogg-Briand (1928) (still a viable treaty totally ignored by the US), the world was trying to leash the dog of war. While the 1925 Geneva Protocol banned the use of C.W., the C.W.C. took it up a notch with a ban on the production or stockpiling of these weapons such as chlorine, phosgene, mustard gas, sarin, and other nerve agents.

The hypocrisy as we saw in George W. Bush’s criminal Iraq War in 2003 is going to war under the pretext of containing or punishing nations that have, real or imagined, Weapons of Mass Destruction. Will this be the rationale for destroying the Islamic Republic of Iran?Those who seek to punish the Bashar Hafez al-Assad regime for allegedly using chemical weapons in the suburbs of Damascus, are really seeking American entry to reestablish a military-ground presence in the region and in carrying out what they see as a Messianic duty to reign in “radical Islam.” President Assad is quite secular but that does not matter to these warhawk interventionists, who want to shore up the fading American empire by demonstrating we can still murder and extirpate babies, women and other civilians with good ol’ moral non W.M.D. We love cluster bombs; we love indiscriminate drone attacks; we love “boots on the ground.” We hate the U.N. because they are civilized and reject American unilateralism and claims of global policeperson that even includes spying on the planet’s entire population with N.S.A. snooping, reading and invading our daily lives and communications.

So before we run off to war because of the horror of chemical weapons use-real or imagined- we should not fool ourselves or our people that chemical weapons have killed a tiny fraction of combatants and civilians in war and this faux humanitarian call for punishment, is a smokescreen for more brutality and violence that the U.S. is so noted for.

An immoral country, the scourge of the world, calling for international outrage and response to the alleged use of chemical weapons is a disgrace and nothing more than a cynical effort to keep the dogs of war alive to buttress the racist and monstrous notion of American exceptionalism.

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