Russia insists that its preliminary investigation of the alleged site couldn't find any evidence of a chemical attack even taking place, with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissing the "White Helmets'" supposed video from the scene as being nothing more than fake news. The US and its allies, however, have convinced themselves that the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) is responsible even though no proof has emerged to corroborate this, even going as far as to blame President Assad and also President Putin personally for what they purport has happened.
The fast-moving events that have transpired in the days since suggest a certain degree of coordination and prior choreographing between the US and its allies, with Russia even going as far as saying that what happened in Douma is nothing more than a provocation intended to invent the pretext for launching conventional military strikes against Syria, something that Moscow ominously warned could lead to "grave repercussions". It's not clear if the country was hinting that it could intervene to stop the US and its partners or if it was referring to the possibly irreversible humanitarian and terrorist consequences that would inevitably follow the crippling of Syrian forces in the event that such a large-scale attack took place, but regardless, it shows that Russia is taking the latest round of escalations real seriously.
Given that the recent flare-up in Syria is attributable to this disputed chemical weapons attack that may or may not have taken place outside of the capital last weekend, it's fitting to rewind everything a bit and ask the obvious question of who would want such an attack and why. The SAA was on the verge of total victory after completing the liberation of Ghouta and doesn't even have any chemical weapons in its possession after the US itself confirmed that they were removed from the country following a last-minute deal in September 2013. It doesn't make sense for President Assad to use weapons of desperation that his forces don't even possess when he's winning, but cynically speaking, there's a certain "logic" behind why his enemies would have an interest in pretending that he did in order to set into motion the present scenario.
Steven Sahiounie, Syrian-American journalist, and Frank McDonald, Political commentator from New Zealand, joined our discussion.
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