WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US President Donald Trump’s unfounded decision to blame Damascus for using chemical weapons to justify an attack on Syria has endangered his own goal of destroying the Islamic State (Daesh), former US Chief of Naval Operations scientific advisor Theodore Postol told Sputnik.
"This ill-considered attack could have led to an inadvertent military confrontation with Russia, has had a severely negative impact on US-Russian relations, and has jeopardized US efforts to defeat the Islamic State because Russia is a critical ally in that effort," Postol said on Wednesday.
Postol, who is currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), argued that the White House-endorsed intelligence report blaming the Syrian air force for the Khan Shaykhun attack could not be true, noting that the Pentagon’s own photographic evidence contradicts US claims.
"The White House intelligence report identified a crater that it alleged was the source of a sarin release from an airdropped munition," Postol explained. "Analysis of this crater unambiguously shows that it was not generated by an airdropped nerve agent dispensing munition."
Further study of the photographic data revealed that sarin nerve gas had not been spread from the claimed crater site, Postol added.
"These insights indicate that the cruise missile attack on April 4 was not supported by any intelligence," Postol concluded.
On Wednesday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said a fact-checking mission in Khan Sheikhun allegedly found traces of Sarin in attack victims' bodies. Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow was encouraging the Syrian government to fully cooperate with the OPCW probe.
In January 2016, the OPCW announced that it had destroyed Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal in accordance with an agreement reached after the 2013 Ghouta attack.