Kerry on Syria: The Absurdity of Certainty

Kerry on Syria: The Absurdity of Certainty


“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd”.    


"Kerry and Zippy Livni, it doesn't get any better than that." Credit: MCS graphics editor, Don Nash

by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

In May, 2013, Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria told Swiss TV that there was no evidence of government use of nerve gas, and testimony from victims strongly suggested that it was the rebels who had used Sarin.  The following month, Washington announced it would continue to arm the rebels citing evidence that Assad had used chemical weapons against his own people.   In spite of the alleged evidence, Washington refused to send gas masks to the rebels.

Today, while the UN chemical weapons inspectors in Syria are investigating the possible use of chemical agents, US Secretary of State John Kerry put all doubt aside announcing that he has irrefutable evidence that the Assad government is responsible for the use of chemical weapons.  Mr. Kerry is of the opinion that since he has the ‘facts’, the UN inspectors have nothing new to offer – after all, ‘the American intelligence community has high confidence’ in its findings. This degree of certainty is simply absurd — or dishonest.

These allegations are all the more dubious given their source – the Israeli intelligence.  It was reported that an “IDF intelligence unit was listening in on senior Syrian officials when they discussed the chemical attack”.   In his remarks, Kerry stressed “evidence in the assessment that regime forces had spent three days in eastern Damascus preparing for the attack”.  If true, this indicates that IDF unit was aware of the plans and did not inform Washington (or Washington did not act on it) — unless the IDF miraculously “intercepted a conversation between high-ranking regime officials regarding the use of chemical agents at the time of the attack” (The Times of Israel).

As the Kerry-doing-Powell tells us:  “We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas and landed only in opposition-held areas”.  Basing the intelligence on these rockets is all the more questionable as the rockets alleged to have been used by Assad bear a strong resemblance to a 1970’s American weapon – the SLUFAE .  Although SLUFAE had been shelved, the concept was built upon by several countries —  namely  Israel.

According to a former UN inspector "a very similar munition was found 3-5 years ago, during one of the Israeli excursions," into Southern Lebanon.” (Foreign Policy).

So we are left with dubious intelligence and mystifying rockets – but what of the chemical weapons which are reported to have taken a high toll?  Another anomaly in the Kerry allegations is that at the rocket site,  there is a complete absence of fear shown by people posing with the weapons, and an absence of any kind of protective gear.   So if rockets, what was the delivery method, and by whom?

Dubious  reports have surfaced on the internet which cite a rebel’s father claiming that the Saudis supplied the chemical weapons without instructions, or without telling the rebels what they were which is why “they” went off in the tunnel causing so many accidental deaths.  Although these allegations reinforce the fact that chemicals were used, the unlikely story flies in the face of Israeli intelligence and  Kerry’s  allegations, serving to add confusion to an already mystifying event.  What other plausible explanations are there?

Writing for the prominent Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), in his 2005 article entitled “Unmanned Air Vehicles as Terror Weapons: Real or Imagined?”, Dennis Gormley stressed the danger of UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles – drones) and stated: “Dispersal of chemical or especially biological agent is ideally suited for a UAV; its flight stability permits the release of agent evenly along a line of contamination.”

Coincidentally, in April 2013, The Times of Israel citing Le Figaro reported that ‘Israeli drones were given leave to fly over Jordan  in order to monitor the chemical caches and take action if necessary’.   Could these drones have been used to destroy an existing caches –  or, were the drones used to disperse the chemical weapons? Certainly Israel  had the weapons, the means and the opportunity.

The Israeli government has issued no policy statement on biological arms control and it has either signed nor ratified the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC); however,    according to Avner Cohen “Ben Gurion’s desire to seek  scientists to “either increase the capacity to kill masses or to cure masses” implied — in the 1948 context — was an interest in biological warfare.  Subsequently, the Israel Institute of Biological Research (IIBR) was founded in Ness Ziona, some 12 miles southeast of Tel Aviv[i] (The Nonproliferation Review/Fall-Winter 2001).

The institute was not without its hazards.  Several ‘accidents’ took place in Ness Ziona and in August 1998, the British Foreign Report citing Israeli sources claimed that “one accident was so serious that the authorities were contemplating evacuating the entire town of Ness Ziona  before the IRIB scientists had concluded that the threat has passed.

There were further revelations in October 1998 when Israel admitted that the El Al Boeing plane which crashed in Amsterdam in 1992, was carrying cargo destined for Ness Ziona.  The shipment contained DMMP – a dual-use chemical used in the manufacture of sarin nerve gas.   Perhaps it is the experiments being carried out by the IRIB in Ness Ziona, and all the related incidents, in addition to Israel’s policies that has the Israeli  citizens on a constant alert — masks ready,  images of which are broadcast to justify aggressive, illegal action.

There are far too many unanswered questions and potential possibilities – all of which underscore the absurdity of Kerry’s certainty on Syria.    As oft repeated on this topic – qui bono (who benefits)?  For now it seems that Mr. Kerry’s attention been redirected from the ‘peace plan’ to war planning – at a ludicrously high cost to Syria and at the expense of America’s credibility.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of lobby groups in influencing US foreign policy.


[i] Avner Cohen, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control”

Karen Kwiatkowski and Ry Dawson on Syria

Karen U. Kwiatkowski, née Unger, is an American activist and commentator. She is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel whose assignments included duties as a Pentagon desk officer and a variety of roles for the National Security Agency. Wikipedia

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Published on Aug 31, 2013.

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Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich has a Master's in Public Diplomacy from USC Annenberg for Communication. She is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy and the role of the lobby.


  1. This assessment by Ken Timmerman that the logic purporting to show that Assad used CW is absurd, is very significant.



    Timmerman is an unabashed Iran hawk.


    He ran for office (don't remember if Senate or House) in Maryland suburbs of DC just last year.  I don't think he had a very good showing but he had an awful lot of ads around — someone was funding him.


    In the past, Timmerman has partnered with cretins such as Josh Muravchik, also a Beltway bandito, and others of that stripe.


    If Timmerman is critical of the administration's logic re Syria, then maybe he's approachable, and can turn his organization, Foundation for Democracy in Iran, to a genuinely affirmative purpose rather than a destructive one.

  2. Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the Islamic Republic had sent an official memo to the United States through the Swiss Embassy in Tehran (which serves as the US interests section in Iran) last December, in which Washington had been forewarned that “handmade articles of chemical weapons, including sarin gas, are being transferred into Syria.”

    In an interview with Aseman (Sky) weekly in Tehran, Zarif added, “In the same note, we warned [Washington] that radical groups might be planning to use these chemical agents. During this period [of war in Syria] Takfiri groups have been encouraged to continue their fratricide and war the result of which has been human catastrophes some photos of which we have already seen in the media.” the Iranian foreign minister, however, stated that the Americans have given no answer to that letter.



    Hillary Mann Leverett, who blogs at goingtotehran dot com, was on the George Bush national security team delegated to the UN when US went to war in Afghanistan.  Leverett negotiated face-to-face with Iranians and gained their assistance with locating dangerous elements in Afghanistan.  Iran also provided other assistance to the US efforts.  For their pains, Leverett has said in interviews, Iran was labeled "axis of evil" in Bush's 2002 State of the Union address.



  3. Former ambassador Craig Murray wonders why the British listening post at Mount Troodos did not intercept the telephone message that is the backbone of John Kerry's evidence that Assad deployed chemical weapons.

    After first descriing the sophistication of the British facility —


    "Troodos is highly effective – the jewel in the crown of British intelligence.  Its capacity and efficiency, as well as its reach, is staggering.  The US do not have their own comparable facility for the Middle East. "


    and stating his qualifications to discuss Froodos —

    "I should state that I have actually been inside all of this facility and been fully briefed on its operations and capabilities, while I was head of the FCO Cyprus Section in the early 1990s.  This is fact, not speculation."


    Murray discusses a series of explanations for the anomaly —

    "It is therefore very strange, to say the least, that John Kerry claims to have access to communications intercepts of Syrian military and officials organising chemical weapons attacks, which intercepts were not available to the British Joint Intelligence Committee.

    On one level the explanation is simple.  The intercept evidence was provided to the USA by Mossad, according to my own well  placed source in the Washington intelligence community.  Intelligence provided by a third party is not automatically shared with the UK, and indeed Israel specifies it should not be.

    But the inescapable question is this.  Mossad have nothing comparable to the Troodos operation.  The reported content of the conversations fits exactly with key tasking for Troodos, and would have tripped all the triggers.  How can Troodos have missed this if Mossad got it?  The only remote possibility is that all the conversations went on a purely landline route, on which Mossad have a physical wire tap, but that is very unlikely in a number of ways – not least nowadays the purely landline route.

    Israel has repeatedly been involved in the Syrian civil war, carrying out a number of illegal bombings and missile strikes over many months.  This absolutely illegal activity by Israel- which has killed a great many civilians, including children – has brought no condemnation at all from the West.  Israel has now provided “intelligence” to the United States designed to allow the United States to join in with Israel’s bombing and missile campaign. . . ."




    Pat Lang and a group of fellow former intelligence officers kick around some explanations  http  turcopolier dot typepad dot com slash sic_semper_tyrannis/2013/09/british-sigint-never-heard-kerrys-evidence dot html



  4. What is at stake here is not merely the tragic plight of the Syrian people, or of the Iranian people, or even the entire region.


    What is at stake is 2000 years of the Jewish and hyphenated Christian narrative.


    If evidence continues to mount from credible sources that the United States and the Israeli government is not only lying about chemical attacks that killed innocent civilians but is actually complicit in those attacks;


    and if John Kerry linked those attacks to Hitler and Nazism, as he did,




    the obvious question is not 'when did you stop beating your wife' but When did you START beating your wife — When did you START Lying? 


    The same kinds of information as Craig Murray, and Pat Lang, and Pepe Escobar, and Scott Horton, and Paul Jay, and Paul Craig Roberts, and Alan Sabrosky, and numerous others have exposed the about zionists and their co-conspirators, the US government, over the past 20 years, is also available from similarly credible sources regarding zionist activities during World War I and its denoument; the interim period (Weimar), and the run-up to world war II, from the Jewish Declaration of War on Germany on Mar 24, 1933 to the known involvment of Jewish specialists in planning the firebombing of Germany and Japan — perhaps the first modern use of WMD as instruments of terror — by Robert McNamara's admission, crimes against humanity.


    Those crimes have been firewalled behind criminal sanctions against discussing them.


    A person who merely quotes Rabbi Stephen Wise quoting Louis Brandeis who said sometime before Feb. 14, 1933 that "All Jews Must leave Germany," is susceptible to the career-shattering charge of "Antisemite!"


    But it is a fact.


    Obama's red line is very like that red cord with which Rahab betrayed her village, Jericho, to the invading Herew forces.  But Obama's red line will unravel 2000 years of Hebrew history, even as it seeks to destroy the cradle of civilization and several of the birth-places of Christianity in Syria.



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