In addition to last week’s Wall Street Journal article about Iran’s role in training Shi’ites to fight in Syria, there was another important article.

The New York Times reported U.N. Data on Gas Attack Point to Assad’s Top Forces.

The inspectors, instructed to investigate the attack but not to assign blame, nonetheless listed the precise compass directions of flight for two rocket strikes that appeared to lead back toward the government’s elite redoubt in Damascus, Mount Qasioun, which overlooks and protects neighborhoods and Mr. Assad’s presidential palace and where his Republican Guard and the army’s powerful Fourth Division are entrenched.

“It is the center of gravity of the regime,” said Elias Hanna, a retired general in the Lebanese Army and a lecturer on strategy and geopolitics at the American University of Beirut. “It is the core of the regime.”

In presenting the data concerning two rocket strikes — the significance of which was not commented upon by the United Nations itself — the report provides a stronger indication than the public statements of intelligence services of the United States, France or Britain that the Syrian military not only carried out the attack, but apparently did so brazenly, firing from the same neighborhoods or ridges from which it has been firing high-explosive conventional munitions for much of the war.

In addition to using the data from the two rocket strikes, the New York Times reporters added:

A senior American intelligence official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the United States, via satellite, had confirmed rocket launches that corroborated the United Nations data and the Human Rights Watch analysis for one of the strikes.

In the wake of the attack it was reported:

According to reports from the scene, four large rockets landed in the Damascus suburb of East Ghouta at just after 2 A.M.

I figured that with all the surveillance the United States has, if this was true, the firing of those rockets would have been detected. Presumably the confirmation reported by the New York Times, is the detection I was thinking of.

This last detail is further confirmation of the Syrian government’s guilt. Inspectors gathered evidence of sarin in the August 21 attacks in Ghouta. Rocket trajectories placed the point of origin of the deadly weapons at a base of the Syrian army. Israeli intelligence reportedly picked up “chatter” of the government’s usage of chemical agents. And American intelligence picked up the signatures of the rockets being fired.

Together with yesterday’s post about Iran’s involvement in the Syrian civil war tie the Iranian regime – the power behind Iran’s Revolutionary Guards – to the Assad regime. Iran’s involvement in that war belies the moderate image cultivated by Iran’s new president but also ties Iran to a regime that uses weapons proscribed by international convention.

What does that say about Iran’s likelihood of adhering to international standards and agreements when it comes to its own quest to develop nuclear weapons?


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