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Syrian Official: Chemical Weapons Claim a 'Barefaced Lie'

Information minister says the US and Britain prefer to "juggle with facts" and ultimately "repeat Iraq's scenario"

- Lauren McCauley, staff writer

A Syrian official has declared US and British accusations of the Syrian use of chemical weapons a "barefaced lie" countering that the two countries like to "juggle with facts"—alluding to their wrongful 2003 assertion of 'weapons of mass destruction' which opened the door to the Iraq invasion.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zouabi.(Photo: Louai Beshara / AFP) The statement comes as the dominant voices in US media and politics begin to bang the drums of war following the release of a "weasel-worded" letter Thursday in which the White House alleged "with varying degrees of confidence" that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons.

"I want to confirm that statements by the US Secretary of State and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie," Omran al-Zohbi, Syria's information minister, said in an interview Saturday with the Kremlin-funded RT.

"I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it—not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues," he added.

In response to a request by United Nations chief Ban Ki-Moon for Syria to approve an UN inspection mission to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons, Zohbi said that the Syrian government could not trust inspectors from Britain and the US. 

"We do not trust the American and British experts from a political point of view," Zobhi said. "We also do not trust their qualifications. Their aim is to juggle with facts."

He added that their goal is to "repeat Iraq’s scenario, to pave the way for other investigation inspections. To provide, based on their results, maps, photos of rockets and other fabricated materials to the UN, which as we know, opened the way to the occupation of Iraq.”

In an interview with Inter Press Service, Robert E. Hunter, who served on the National Security Council staff throughout the Jimmy Carter administration, acknowledged, "That letter is a wonderful weasel-worded letter to try to make the president look good and preserve all options."

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