Could the video of an alleged chemical attack, recorded and disseminated by a rebel jihadist group, be enough to start a war?
Thinking about the recent history and the fake or contradictory images emerging from the Syrian chaos, the only possible answer is: no. Here are five cases that should lead us to reflect and raise doubts before agreeing to a war against Syria and Bashar al Assad.

1) February 2003. Former US Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke at the UN Security Council to persuade the world to intervene against Saddam Hussein, who was accused of owning chemical and biological weapons which threatened the international community. Amongst other evidence, he showed images of mobile laboratories used to move gas and other nerve agents. These laboratories and the depositories of chemical weapons were never found. In the end the USA had to admit that the war against Saddam Hussein had been started basing on wrong or manipulated information from their own intelligence agencies.

2) February 2011. A few days after the start of the revolution against Gaddafi, televisions and newspapers across the world published images of what they called the mass graves used to bury victims of the violent repression perpetrated by the regime. It was later revealed that those were images of the Sidi Habed cemetery. The alleged victims of the repression were completely fabricated, with the story serving as anti-regime propaganda made up by Al Jazeera and Qatar together with the jihadist group protagonists of the rebellion. All of this occurring under the watch of a France eager to find an excuse to intervene.

3) August 2016. The images of the little boy Omran touched the world. The child was claimed to have been saved by the so-called White Helmets from the ruins of his house in East Aleppo, which was destroyed during a Russian airstrike. The pictures were spread by the Aleppo Media Center, and the press office of Jabhat Al Nusra, a Syrian emanation of Al Qaeda, which at the time controlled that part of the city. However the international media ignored it, not giving it the attention and coverage that it deserved. After the liberation of Aleppo from the rebels, Mohamad Kheir Daqneesh, Omran’s father, explained that the so-called White Helmets grabbed his son from his arms and, instead of bringing him to the hospital, wasted time taking photos and video footage.

4) Syria 2014. The video of a Syrian boy saving his little sister from Bashar Assad’s snipers, even though he was injured himself, went viral and received millions of enthusiastic comments. In November the Norwegian director Lars Klevberg revealed that he had shot that video in Malta using the set of the movie “The Gladiator”, and that professional actors and extras were hired to act as Syrian refugees. It was set up as a social experiment, to show how fiction and reality can be easily turned upside down in times of war.

5) April 2018. A video was released on Saturday April 7th by the rebels of Jaysh Al Islam, a jihadist faction financed by Saudi Arabia that at the time still controlled the city of Douma in the region of Ghouta. The video showed the horrific consequences of an alleged chemical attack conducted a few hours earlier by two Syrian government helicopters. However, another tape which had been released earlier, showed how in schools controlled by the rebels, children are taught to simulate the consequences of a fake chemical attack. It is difficult to distinguish between these two scenes.

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