photo:Foreign and Commonwealth Office
British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced yesterday that his government would be spending nearly one million dollars providing the Syrian rebels with special hoods and other equipment to protect them from chemical weapons. He promised that the assistance would only go to "moderate" forces, but did not explain how he would measure who was moderate or who was extreme.
That will be no easy task. For example, as a commander of the Free Syrian Army, Abu Sakkar is considered a moderate. But his habit of eating the organs of dead Syrian army soldiers seems to most people pretty extreme. Likewise, FSA calls for all factions, including the jihadists, to unite may make it harder for Hague. Not to worry, though, British Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt told the UK parliament that the Syrian rebels have promised to give back all the weapons after the fighting is over.
Hague's care package will also include some tablets to combat the symptoms of nerve gas and some special paper to detect the presence of certain chemical agents. These will all come in handy the next time the Syrian rebels decide to launch more chemical weapons, as they can be protected against any butterfingers jihadist while at the same time performing a quick wipe of the canister to send to the US to prove that it was the government forces who were using chemical weapons. It's a win-win.
While the Obama Administration's sudden recent determination that Syrian government forces had used sarin gas was based on extremely dubious collection, reporting, and chain of custody, Russian experts took samples at the scene without any third party involvement and determined that it was the rebels who had used sarin. The missiles fired into Aleppo were homemade, with the supplies likely coming from one of a number of poison gas storage facilities under control of the Syrian rebels.
No matter, Secretary Hague has decided to remain joined at the hip with the American neocons who continue to run US foreign policy. Tony Blair smiles somewhere, drowing in his filthy war lucre.