Former Bush administration official: Israel may be behind use of chemical arms in Syria

Chemi Shalev — Haaretz May 4, 2013

Retired U.S. Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, who once served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff, believes that the chemical weapons used in Syria may have been an Israeli “false flag” operation aimed at implicating Bashar Assad’s regime.

Wilkerson made his astounding assertion in an interview on Current TV, the network once owned by former Vice President Al Gore and recently purchased by Al-Jazeera.

Wilkerson said that the evidence that it was Assad’s regime that had used the chemical weapons was “flaky” and that it could very well have been the rebels or Israel who were the perpetrators. Asked why Israel would do such a thing, Wilkerson said: “I think we’ve got a basically geostrategically, geopolitical inept regime in Tel Aviv right now.”

“I think we saw really startling evidence of that,” Wilkerson continued, “in the fact that President Obama had to tell Bibi Netanyahu ‘Pick up the phone, you idiot, call Ankara and get yourself out of this strategic isolation you’re in right now.”

A “false flag” operation is a covert attack on foreign or domestic soil carried out by governments or organizations under a false identity, aimed at placing blame on the enemy. It originates with a ruse once used in naval warfare in which ships would hoist the enemy’s flags in order to infiltrate his ranks.

Wilkerson, 63, a former Army helicopter pilot who flew combat missions in Vietnam, served as Colin Powell’s chief of staff in 2002-2005. He was responsible for reviewing the intelligence information used by Powell in his by now infamous February 2003 United Nations Security Council appearance on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

After his retirement, Wilkerson described this presentation as “a hoax” and became an outspoken critic of the Bush Administration’s handling of the Iraq war. He now serves as a professor at Virginia’s William and Mary College and is a guest commentator on several U.S. television networks.

Speaking on the Current’s Young Turks program, Wilkerson said that because of the instability in the Middle East, Israel’s current geo-strategic situation is “as dangerous as it’s been since 1948.” He added that President Obama “has got to be very circumspect about what he does in exacerbating that situation.”

“Netanyahu is clueless as to this,” Wilkerson said. “I hope President Obama gave him a lecture in geostrategic realities.”

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