Another Syria conspiracy
It does seem like a fair number of very serious people are taking the False Flag conspiracy seriously. Much of this is based on the "motive" issue we were talking about earlier - Assad had little to gain but much to lose by letting fly with nerve gas, while the more brutal rebel factions have both motive and capability to drop WMD on their own people to invite Western intervention.
One other theory I heard shortly after the big chemical strike was that Iranian forces fighting in Syria might be responsible - either because they're bloody-minded, they panicked under fire and used chemical bombs, or because they have a devious interest in prompting Western intervention with a false-flag operation. This might seem counter-intuitive, because Iran is fighting to prop up the Assad regime. But they know perfectly well that regime change isn't in the cards.
It's interesting that the chemical weapons attack wasn't big enough to trigger something like that. Assad's got more than enough poison to conduct Saddam-level atrocities if he wants to. (As a side note, the hapless John Kerry today likened Assad to two of history's greatest monsters, Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein. But... Mr. Secretary, you based your ENTIRE PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN on opposing the overthrow of Saddam!)
What might Iran gain from drawing Obama into a Syrian misadventure? They'd be bleeding off Obama's political capital, plus military hardware a sequestered U.S. can't really afford to toss around with abandon. If the situation escalated (and you just know it would) the U.S. would be pulled into a quagmire that keeps them far, far away from Iran and its nuclear program. Actually, Obama's strikes on Syria would almost become "regime change insurance" for Iran, because if Assad falls, the odds of American boots on the ground increase dramatically - someone's got to keep those WMD stockpiles out of al-Qaeda hands! This ensures that Iran gets something valuable whether Assad stands or falls. Win-win for them.
In a similar vein, Russia has a lot to gain from watching the United States slip into a Syrian quagmire. It'll certainly help them market themselves as an alternative to American influence across the Middle East. And if, as John Kerry predicts, Assad ends up standing tall and laughing at Obama after a few empty buildings blow up... that works for Russia, too.