Skip to comments.EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack
Posted on 09/03/2013 3:31:45 AM PDT by Candor7
Clarification: Dale Gavlak assisted in the research and writing process of this article, but was not on the ground in Syria. Reporter Yahya Ababneh, with whom the report was written in collaboration, was the correspondent on the ground in Ghouta who spoke directly with the rebels, their family members, victims of the chemical weapons attacks and local residents.
Gavlak is a MintPress News Middle East correspondent who has been freelancing for the AP as a Amman, Jordan correspondent for nearly a decade. This report is not an Associated Press article; rather it is exclusive to MintPress News.
Ghouta, Syria As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last weeks chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit.
Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.
The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assads guilt was a judgment already clear to the world.
However, from numerous interviews with doctors, Ghouta residents, rebel fighters and their families, a different picture emerges. Many believe that certain rebels received chemical weapons via the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, and were responsible for carrying out the dealing gas attack.
My son came to me two weeks ago asking what I thought the weapons were that he had been asked to carry, said Abu Abdel-Moneim, the father of a rebel fighting to unseat Assad, who lives in Ghouta.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and 12 other rebels were killed inside of a tunnel used to store weapons provided by a Saudi militant, known as Abu Ayesha, who was leading a fighting battalion. The father described the weapons as having a tube-like structure while others were like a huge gas bottle.
Ghouta townspeople said the rebels were using mosques and private houses to sleep while storing their weapons in tunnels.
Abdel-Moneim said his son and the others died during the chemical weapons attack. That same day, the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, which is linked to al-Qaida, announced that it would similarly attack civilians in the Assad regimes heartland of Latakia on Syrias western coast, in purported retaliation.
They didnt tell us what these arms were or how to use them, complained a female fighter named K. We didnt know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.
When Saudi Prince Bandar gives such weapons to people, he must give them to those who know how to handle and use them, she warned. She, like other Syrians, do not want to use their full names for fear of retribution.
A well-known rebel leader in Ghouta named J agreed. Jabhat al-Nusra militants do not cooperate with other rebels, except with fighting on the ground. They do not share secret information. They merely used some ordinary rebels to carry and operate this material, he said.
We were very curious about these arms. And unfortunately, some of the fighters handled the weapons improperly and set off the explosions, J said.
Doctors who treated the chemical weapons attack victims cautioned interviewers to be careful about asking questions regarding who, exactly, was responsible for the deadly assault.
The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders added that health workers aiding 3,600 patients also reported experiencing similar symptoms, including frothing at the mouth, respiratory distress, convulsions and blurry vision. The group has not been able to independently verify the information.
More than a dozen rebels interviewed reported that their salaries came from the Saudi government.
Saudi involvement In a recent article for Business Insider, reporter Geoffrey Ingersoll highlighted Saudi Prince Bandars role in the two-and-a-half year Syrian civil war. Many observers believe Bandar, with his close ties to Washington, has been at the very heart of the push for war by the U.S. against Assad.
Ingersoll referred to an article in the U.K.s Daily Telegraph about secret Russian-Saudi talks alleging that Bandar offered Russian President Vladimir Putin cheap oil in exchange for dumping Assad.
Prince Bandar pledged to safeguard Russias naval base in Syria if the Assad regime is toppled, but he also hinted at Chechen terrorist attacks on Russias Winter Olympics in Sochi if there is no accord, Ingersoll wrote.
I can give you a guarantee to protect the Winter Olympics next year. The Chechen groups that threaten the security of the games are controlled by us, Bandar allegedly told the Russians.
Along with Saudi officials, the U.S. allegedly gave the Saudi intelligence chief the thumbs up to conduct these talks with Russia, which comes as no surprise, Ingersoll wrote.
Bandar is American-educated, both military and collegiate, served as a highly influential Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., and the CIA totally loves this guy, he added.
According to U.K.s Independent newspaper, it was Prince Bandars intelligence agency that first brought allegations of the use of sarin gas by the regime to the attention of Western allies in February.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the CIA realized Saudi Arabia was serious about toppling Assad when the Saudi king named Prince Bandar to lead the effort.
They believed that Prince Bandar, a veteran of the diplomatic intrigues of Washington and the Arab world, could deliver what the CIA couldnt: planeloads of money and arms, and, as one U.S. diplomat put it, wasta, Arabic for under-the-table clout, it said.
Bandar has been advancing Saudi Arabias top foreign policy goal, WSJ reported, of defeating Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies.
To that aim, Bandar worked Washington to back a program to arm and train rebels out of a planned military base in Jordan.
The newspaper reports that he met with the uneasy Jordanians about such a base:
His meetings in Amman with Jordans King Abdullah sometimes ran to eight hours in a single sitting. The king would joke: Oh, Bandars coming again? Lets clear two days for the meeting, said a person familiar with the meetings.
Jordans financial dependence on Saudi Arabia may have given the Saudis strong leverage. An operations center in Jordan started going online in the summer of 2012, including an airstrip and warehouses for arms. Saudi-procured AK-47s and ammunition arrived, WSJ reported, citing Arab officials.
Although Saudi Arabia has officially maintained that it supported more moderate rebels, the newspaper reported that funds and arms were being funneled to radicals on the side, simply to counter the influence of rival Islamists backed by Qatar.
But rebels interviewed said Prince Bandar is referred to as al-Habib or the lover by al-Qaida militants fighting in Syria.
Peter Oborne, writing in the Daily Telegraph on Thursday, has issued a word of caution about Washingtons rush to punish the Assad regime with so-called limited strikes not meant to overthrow the Syrian leader but diminish his capacity to use chemical weapons:
Consider this: the only beneficiaries from the atrocity were the rebels, previously losing the war, who now have Britain and America ready to intervene on their side. While there seems to be little doubt that chemical weapons were used, there is doubt about who deployed them.
It is important to remember that Assad has been accused of using poison gas against civilians before. But on that occasion, Carla del Ponte, a U.N. commissioner on Syria, concluded that the rebels, not Assad, were probably responsible.
Some information in this article could not be independently verified. Mint Press News will continue to provide further information and updates .
Dale Gavlak is a Middle East correspondent for Mint Press News and has reported from Amman, Jordan, writing for the Associated Press, NPR and BBC. An expert in Middle Eastern affairs, Gavlak covers the Levant region, writing on topics including politics, social issues and economic trends. Dale holds a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago. Contact Dale at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yahya Ababneh is a Jordanian freelance journalist and is currently working on a masters degree in journalism, He has covered events in Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Libya. His stories have appeared on Amman Net, Saraya News, Gerasa News and elsewhere.
Emergency PING to evidence that Saudis and possibly Obama created a sting op in alleged Syrian gas attack
This scenerio is so plausible that it just makes sense. Is our government so committed to Syria that it will ignore this possible scenerio? Every day I get more disgusted.
Is our government so committed to Syria that it will ignore this possible scenerio?>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Obama likely helped create the scenario.
- Barack “Maybe A Little Blow” Hussein-Obama creates a problemo -
- then promises to.....
We have an agent of Al Qaeda as POTUS which is why he has done nothing but help them out since day one and why the “killing” of Osama Bin-Laden was a complete fraud - Show me the evidence. Oh there is no evidence. This POS posing as our POTUS is systematically going country to country in the middle east helping the radical pedo-Islamos take over and now his target is Syria. One Iran is not enough, let’s have 4. What did GW Bush say? “The terrorists will hit us where we least expect it” and that’s just what they did. Barack Hussein comes out of nowhere, nobody knows anything about this guy, and the Treason party in conjunction with the RINOs allowed him to waltz into the WH. So now we have a terrorist in the White House protected 24 hours a day by an army of secret service that we pay for while he goes about destroying this country and advancing the cause of radical Islam in between 9000 vacations that we also pay for. Real nice.
We didnt know they were chemical weapons. We never imagined they were chemical weapons.
What did you think they were?
Ingredients for a really good apple pie?
Too ignorant for the big game. "K", you and your terrorist friend "J" have been used/owned.
You are just fodder for the "cause".
I've tried to remove any double pings but might have missed some. Please let me know so I can adjust this list. Thank you.
This is a combined list. Anyone wanting on or off please advise.
When Obama said “Don’t Cross the Red Line” on chemical weapons, he KNEW then that the rebels would use the Sarin, blame it on Assad so that Obama had the EXCUSE to BOMB Assad so that AL Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood will be in POWER!!!!
Assad...an unfair victim of Obama! Now, I’ve heard everything.
“Is our government so committed to Syria that...?”
I understand about internet shorthand, but sometimes clarity is needed above all.
The government is committed to intervene against the Syrian regime of Bashir Assad, which would result in helping al-qaeda affiliated groups.
Sums it up pretty nicely.
Plus, we are now so infiltrated and compromised by commies/muslims-islamists/ foreign elements etc, at every level - gov’t, military, courts, society etc - that we’ll probably never get the Republic back.
You got that right.
Barry started out as a Boy Toy/Errand Boy for the Saudis who know exactly how to manipulate sick little bastards like Barry. You can bet your bottom dollar that their goals and his goals are one and the same.
Barry being so anxious to set Syria up over chemical weapons may be an indication that there's a chemical attack on either the US or Europe in the works as much as it is an indication that the Mooze Lame faithful are going to do whatever it takes to destroy Syria. If Assad is the patsy in advance the investigation will be short and sweet so awkward questions aren't asked about where the weapons used originated.
I wouldn't be surprised to see them used against the Egyptians, either, especially after Saudis sent boatload of cash to help Egypt when Barry got "tough" on the people who threw out the MB. After that well publicized aid to Egypt, how many people will look for a Saudi connection to the use of chemical weapons in Egypt?
JMHO & thinking out-loud
This is my gut feeling. It was an workplace accident while they were preparing the weapons for something.
I think you are right.
I don’t believe Obama had any intention of being President when it happened.
I believe Obama spent his entire first term with everything he did, setting up a mess for a repub president to take care of and guarantee a failed republican presidency, as a way to get Hillary into the WH in 2016.
Sounds like we are on the same highway that goes into something/someplace called the Arabian Night. A good peek is that old photo of Obama genuflecting to his knees in the presence of the King of Saudi Arabia.
Yeah and after last POTUS election it made me realize we lost the right to vote as well. If you went to any newspaper site well before the election, the reader comments were about 90% AGAINST Obama, and it didn’t matter WHAT paper it was, almost always the reader comments were overwhelmingly against Obama and for Romney.
Yet Obama wins? Baloney. Like my brother says: How many people in this country are communist? What is the percentage? 5%? 20%? Yet a radical like Obama wins? Impossible. I live in New York city, one of the most liberal cities in country, I had liberals tell me to my face they were disgusted with Obama and were going to vote Romney, yet Obama wins easily?
Plus, we are now so infiltrated and compromised by commies/muslims-islamists/ foreign elements etc, at every level - govt, military, courts, society etc - that well probably never get the Republic back”.
Sure nuff right because about all I see in the way of effort is sitting on the couch pecking on a computer. I’ve been sayin a long time that the men of America have been emasculated by PC. It’s mostly strong women that I see “out there” calling a spade a spade. Us American men are going to have to step up and get a grip on the spirit of America freedom, independence and liberty that has fallen by the wayside. We all will stand for the National Anthem at a sporting event but we really can’t be bothered to stand up to a commie bastard that has usurped the office of the President.
The rebels captured Al-Safira in April. Al-Safira was one of Syria's largest chemical weapons facilities.
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