A Heritage Foundation scholar tells Newsmax that reports of a chemical weapons attack in Syria would likely be an effort to embarrass the Obama Administration into continuing its support for an arms embargo.
“This was a crude effort to embarrass President Obama when he came off that plane in Israel,” Heritage scholar James Phillips said. “This is a crude propaganda exercise by the Syrian government by alleging that the Syrian rebels used chemical weapons.”
The Syrian government and rebel forces on Tuesday accused each other of launching a chemical attack near the northern city of Aleppo that killed 25 people. The attack coincided with a visit by President Barack Obama to Israel.
Britain on Wednesday said that the attack strengthens the case for lifting a European Union ban on allowing the sale of weapons in Syria. It argues that doing so would better equip the out-manned rebels fighting to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The British that warned that not doing so could lead to the kind of wartime massacres seen in Bosnia in the 1990s
Assad, whose regime is supplied with weapons by Iran and its terrorist arm Hezbollah, opposes lifting the ban while it holds its grip on the country.
Phillips said that the Assad regime would likely have blamed a chemical weapons attack on the rebels to prod the U.S. into joining several EU countries and Russia which oppose lifting the ban.
“It’s very possible chemical weapons were used,” said Phillips, a senior research fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs with Heritage. “If they were, they were undoubtedly used by the regime and not by the rebels as the regime alleges.”
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