A Labour peer and former chief of Britain’s Royal Navy questioned government claims that the Assad regime was behind chemical attacks in Syria live on the BBC Monday, as calls for evidence supporting the attack to be made public grows.
Establishment figure Lord West, who is also is also a former chief of British defence intelligence, highlighted past “bad experiences” with intelligence, likely in reference to Iraq and Bosnia, and argued Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had no rational reason to use banned weapons as he is already “winning” the war without them.
He also explained that Syrian rebel forces have already used chemical weapons, and organization such as the White Helmet, who are backing claims the Assad regime is responsible, are not neutral and have an agenda.
“Militarily, it just seems extraordinary, and I don’t think we can always rely on some of the reports that come from within these areas, because it’s not from neutral observers,” he said just after midday on Monday on the BBC News channel.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) April 16, 2018
He also claimed the official narrative of Assad’s culpability didn’t “ring true” as there was no “benefit” in him using banned weapons and provoking a Western response at this stage.
Yet, “there would be a huge benefit” in the “Islamist” rebel groups fighting the regime “ labelling an attack as coming from Assad,”. Lord West said that were the claims true he would absolutely support punishing al-Assad with military force.
Yet Lord West was clear that he did not have complete confidence in official intelligence reports, revealing he had had “huge pressure put on me, politically” as a former intelligence chief to support government positions in the past, during the conflict in Bosnia.
You won't hear talk this frank from many establishment figures this week https://t.co/2GLqq4Nwpm
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 14, 2018
Lord West was also interviewed Monday on BBC Radio 4.
His remarks follow others he made last week before the bombing commenced, as reported by Breitbart London.
The former senior naval officer then insisted there should be “unequivocal proof” of a chemical attack before the Western intervention was committed to.
The increasing exposure to given to Lord West’s views in the mainstream media comes as calls grow for the government to justify making another military intervention in the Middle East, despite strong public opposition.
Ahead of the missile attacks and bombing raids, multiple polls found that around just one in five Brits backed them, with roughly twice as many opposed to the intervention.
Former UKIP leader and Member of the European Parliament Nigel Farage has also urged caution, saying he could not be certain that the Assad regime was responsible and suggested the “establishment” could not always be trusted after the Iraq war.
Farage: Bombing ‘Bad Guy’ Assad Will Cause ‘Chaos’ and Help Terrorists https://t.co/TWm6lyQ8rN
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 11, 2018