This investigative story is unfolding and contains personal inferences by the author, which does not reflect Scriberr’s views as a whole.

For the past few years, one thing has been relatively certain about the Middle East: chemical weapons are being used by Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, on his own people. Recently, however, a leak from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has cast doubt on much of the official narrative referring to chemical weapon use. To be clear, the OPCW released an official report stating that Assad did use chemical weapons. The issue regards new information published in this leak.

The leak comes from the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, which released the OPCW’s original report on chemical weapons use at Douma. A sub-report within that described the conclusion of engineers that the weapon could not have been dropped and must have been manually placed there. This undermines the narrative of the U.S.’ assessment of the Syrian Civil War, by concluding that the well-publicized Douma attack may not have happened as it was described. British journalists Peter Hitchens and Brian Whitaker said the leaked document is under investigation, providing some credibility from these major journalistic figures.

The motivations behind such a hoax would be fuzzy. The main theory comes down to the idea that Israel wishes to assert more control of the Middle East. Israel has been strongly against the Syrian government for years; at present, Israel and Syria are firing missiles back and forth at each other. Israeli interests are prominent in the American government, and the U.S. is very well-known for starting international conflicts to further their own interests. Quite frankly, war is good for business, and business is booming. It is not out of the question that the U.S. and its allies would declare war out of these interests.

Out of this, the theory has developed some prominent supporters, who believe that the mainstream media is covering up this true event. In their mind, “the media” is willfully ignoring what is really going on. This links into a common narrative, one held amongst conspiracy theorists and the general American public alike that the media is corrupted by certain interests that are contrary to the interests of the people. One prominent supporter is Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, also an activist for the Palestinian people, who posted on Twitter in support of the idea. Even more important is Mike Gravel, former U.S. States Senator from Alaska and candidate for president of the United States in the 2020 Democratic Party primary. Gravel has used Twitter to show support for the theory.

The internet has been swift in its detractors as well. Critics contend that the lack of mainstream media coverage is not a coincidence – because the mainstream media does not believe in this retelling of events. The internet can lead too much in the wakey of fake news and false headlines and there is always a possibility that this leaked document is another one of the internet’s classic hoaxes. Those peddling the theory are doing so in communities with a history of conspiracy theories. 2020 candidate Mike Gravel is a “9/11 truther” who believes that the terrorist attacks in 2001 were “no question” an inside job, casting doubt on his credibility. Many of those spreading the leaked documents are affiliated with Russia and Russian state-owned media, known for their slant toward the Syrian dictator. There is strong motivation for those with a pro-Syria bias to peddle documents trying to clear Assad of culpability.

Is this a conspiracy theory to defend Assad, or is this the next excuse for war in the Middle East? Only time will tell. The full document can be found here.

Written ByAlex Gruenenfelder

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