Do you believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that his government had no role in chemical attacks?

“I belong to the Syrian people; I defend their interests and independence and will not succumb to external pressure.”President #Assad to George #Malbrunot, Le #Figaro, 2 September 2013.

Photo: Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad via his Instagram account

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad tells PBS there is “no evidence” that his government has used chemical weapons.

He also suggested that Syrian allies would retaliate if the West attacked.

From BBC News:

US Secretary of State John Kerry has been lobbying hard for military action against Mr Assad during talks with EU and Arab foreign ministers in Europe.

Congress is due to debate whether to authorize intervention in Syria.

Lawmakers will return from their summer recess on Monday to start discussing President Barack Obama’s resolution to launch a “limited, narrow” strike.

“The next few days will see Mr Obama stripped, all the flaws of his presidency on display, all the strengths of his personality strained to their limit”

A Senate vote on the issue is expected as early as Wednesday, although the timetable for Mr Obama’s request is less certain in the House, where the measure faces an even rockier time.

The US accuses Mr Assad’s forces of killing 1,429 people in a sarin gas attack on 21 August on the outskirts of the capital, Damascus.

Mr Assad’s government blames the attack on rebels fighting to overthrow him in the country’s two-and-a-half-year civil war, which has claimed some 100,000 lives, according to UN estimates.

UK Foreign Secretary William Hague cautioned against believing what al-Assad said.

“We mustn’t fall into the trap of attaching too much credibility to the words of a leader – President Assad – who has presided over so many war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Mr Hague said.

The White House has admitted it has no “irrefutable” evidence of Mr Assad’s involvement in the August attack, but said a “strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence” suggested his government was responsible.

“We’ve seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks,” White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough said on Sunday.

“Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way.”

Today’s Question: Do you believe Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that his government had no role in chemical attacks?

  • Gary F

    Sure he did at some point, but why does that matter?

    I wonder why the media is giving this guy air time?

    I’m still wondering why we are barely hearing a peep out of the Hollywood celebrity crowd?

    • Ralfy

      Which celebrities are you hoping to hear from?
      Clint?
      Barb?
      Sarah?
      Chuck?
      Brad?
      Celebrities are Righties, Lefties, Centrists, Don’t Cares, and Clueless, just like any other demographic. And like any other person in the US, they have the right to express or keep their opinions.

  • Fred Garvin

    It is difficult to determine whom to believe:
    1. A guy who lied about a video causing the deaths of 4 Americans in Benghazi; he spent the day after raising money in Las Vegas
    2. A guy who spoke of his red line one year ago; then last week lied about whose red line it was.
    3. A guy who had little incentive to gas Syrians, knowing that the US or others would probably bomb Syrian cities.
    I’d like to believe the guy who said #1 & #2, but he has lost so much credibility and has created so much divisiveness in the last 5 years that one can only listen to him and his lackeys with a jaundiced ear.

  • PaulJ

    If the chief of staff says it’s ‘not beyond a reasonable doubt’, it really throws the issue into doubt.

  • James

    I’m not entirely convinced the attack was ordered by the Assad regime, but even if it was:

    What about the lives of innocent bystanders as collateral damage from a US military strike?

    The region is a powder keg. We don’t need to light another match.

    A “Limited Strike” could lead to an “Unlimited” retaliation, which could necessarily result in boots on the ground.

    There are no good actors involved on any side of the conflict – Al Qaeda benefits from a US military response. The long term interest of the American people and the Syrian people would be negatively affected by benefiting al Qaeda.

    We’d be spending dollars we don’t have for a situation with no immediate threat to America and no strategic American interest. Those borrowed dollars are also backed up by American soldiers’ lives in the event the limited strike escalates. We’ve spilled enough American blood in the Middle East with no benefit.

    What did we learn from Iraq, where we toppled a regime leaving a power vacuum filled by extremists?

    If not regime change, what exactly do we wish to accomplish? How will success be
    measured? What is our exit strategy?

  • JQP

    No … his father and mother were/are eager users of violent oppression including capricious murder, mass incarceration, torture and more. They obtained direct assistance from Russia, Iran and to a lesser degree from Libya. The military and political leadership put in place during Bashar’s childhood prevents him from following any other path. If he show’s weakness in this matter of any kind, his extra-national allies will punish him with economic severity equal to UN Sanctions in place now, his internal political and military supporters will violently pursue him and his family and the global community will exact persistent and ongoing retribution through World Court and other global bodies.

    He has no reason to tell the truth about using the chemical weapons .. or for that matter weapons of any kind. As far as he is concerned… it will later be found that some rogue military leader and has been bombing the people while Bashar was busy planning (for years) planning a massive Syrian National Holiday “Basharmadan” … and he had no clue as to what that ongoing racket was. If he’s not careful … it will be named “Baharmegeddon”

  • Rich in Duluth

    No, chemical attacks seem to be something a repressive government would do to put down a rebellion. But, this is something for the International Criminal Court to determine and prosecute.

    The U.S. should not use air strikes on Syria. Limited air strikes will do little to stop this civil war and will certainly create more hatred toward the U.S.

  • david

    I believe Assad as much as our own government. Our government’s credibility has suffered greatly due to its continued exaggerating the treat to us, or out right lying to get involved in every fight that is none of its f-ing businesses since ww2.

    Its time to stop and I will find it extremely difficult to vote for anyone who backs this nonsense.

  • Jim G

    No. I don’t believe him. The expensive suit doesn’t cover his naked lies. He ranks among the best of the infamous killers of their own people; Stalin, Pol Pot, and Mao Zedong never admitted their crimes against their own countrymen either. I’m imaging him a few years into the future… sitting in front of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands. Then he will be appropriately wearing prison garb.

  • MBGhbeis

    of course no. This regime was never faithfull about any issue, so how about where he is about to be striked

  • Gary F

    From the Guardian

    “The US secretary of state has said that President Bashar al-Assad has one week to hand over his entire stock of chemical weapons to avoid a military attack. But John Kerry added that he had no expectation that the Syrian leader would comply.”

    My forehead is sore from all the face palming. Geeze.

    • PaulJ

      I hope he doesn’t use the same hiding places as Sadam.

    • Fred Garvin

      Your forehead–think about Kerry’s Asia-like noggin’.
      Why the long face, Amb. Kerry?

  • John

    I don’t believe Kerry.

  • Khatti

    No.

  • Hugh Shakeshaft

    Kerry’s case seems half-baked.

    • Pearly

      And “unbelievably small”