Raising speculation that the US is about to attack Syria again, the White House has issued a statement late this evening accusing the Assad government in Syria of conducting “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack,” claiming that such an attack would involve the “mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.”
The late night report was extremely light on details, but threatened to make Syria’s government and military “pay a heavy price,” suggesting that the statement was only issued to lay the groundwork for a new round of US attacks on Syrian government targets.
The US last attacked Syria in earnest in early April, firing 49 cruise missiles at a Syrian air base. The attack was carried out despite reports ultimately showing that the US intelligence community found no evidence a chemical weapon attack took place.
The White House statement ignored that revelation, and presented the early April incident as a “chemical weapons attack” just like the one they believe to be imminent. Since the administration is very keen to present what they did in April as justified, it would not be surprising if they did so again.
Such a move would be particularly risky now, coming amid Russian warnings that the US needs to stop attacking Syrian government targets. It also comes just hours after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson spoke with Russia’s Foreign Minister about a ceasefire, which seems a particularly inopportune time to attack.