Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is treating yesterday’s Israeli military claim of “repeated” Syrian military chemical weapons use with serious skepticism, noting the complete lack of actual evidence for the allegation.
“Suspicions are one thing, evidence is another,” Hagel noted in comments to reporters about the matter. The red flag to Hagel is that he was just in Israel talking with Israeli military officials and they didn’t mention anything of the sort to him, and less than 24 hours later a Brigadier General is presenting it as confirmed fact.
Israeli officials are now claiming that they have “proof” to back up the allegations, but they haven’t shown it to anyone and aren’t showing it to anyone, and Benjamin Netanyahu declined to confirm anything to Secretary of State John Kerry when pressed.
The sudden revelation is fueling speculation as to why Israel is suddenly coming up with this allegation, why they won’t provide the evidence they claim to have, and most importantly what the endgame is. There is speculation in the Israeli press that going public is aimed at pressing the US into a war, but with the US openly backing Islamist rebels in Syria it seems like that intervention could quickly backfire on Israel.