Apparently, if you are a dictator, you don’t have to pass the “logic test.” Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, gave his first interview since the April 4th attack on the northern town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed over 80 people, made hundreds sick and outraged the world. He repeated his government’s denial of responsibility and declared that the event was fabricated so that the Americans could retaliate with a missile strike. The Syrian president even suggested that there were child actors that merely staged death scenes.
“We don’t know whether those dead children were killed in Khan Sheikhoun,” Mr. Assad told Agence France-Presse in the television interview from Damascus, recorded on Wednesday. “Were they dead at all?”
Medical examiners in Turkey, where many of the Khan Sheikhoun victims were taken, have verified that autopsies revealed they were attacked with sarin. The gas is a deadly nerve agent, and is a banned chemical weapon that Syria claimed to have eliminated. The British delegation to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has said that samples taken from the attack had tested positive for sarin, as reported by Reuters.
So Assad’s decision to give an interview to a Western news organization is puzzling. Just as puzzling as his stance that the whole scenario was staged with 1-year-old actors who could “die” on cue. The Syrian president is growing more and more isolated by day. It will be interesting to see how long Russian remains in his corner.
President Trump called Assad an “animal” because of his use of chemical weapons on women and children. American officials have verified that it was Syrian warplanes that carried out the chemical attack and have insinuated that Russia may have or should have known about it. As it stands now, the United States and Russia seem to be at an impasse regarding Syria. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and said afterward that both sides had significant differences and could not agree on basic facts concerning Syria. Putin also rejected the assertions that Assad’s forces were responsible for the chemical weapons attack calling them similar to the accusation made by the United States regarding Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. Russian used its veto power at the United Nations Security Council to block a Western-backed resolution condemning the Khan Sheikhoun attack and requiring cooperation from the Syrian government in an investigation.
How should we deal with the Syrian dictator, his regime and their alliance with Russia?
Credit: New York Times