I agree with the Democracy Now! discussion between Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman that Assad is responsible for the Douma attack. Whilst many on the hard left/pro-Russia will cry false flag!, I have always thought that Assad was a ruthless liar and cheat, and I had written a lot about his dark history and that of his father on this site. It was pretty clear that Khan Sheikun was an Assad atrocity.
Was the destruction of the Assad chemical weapons stockpile with Russia’s intermediation, a ploy by Assad to start a new chemical weapons campaign under the cover that all such events could then be claimed to be CIA/MI6 false flags? Assad and his henchmen are capable of anything, and I believe that, indeed, this is the case.
Was that Russia’s intention also? I don’t think so – but by legalising its navy and airforce bases in Syria on the basis of an agreement with the so-called “legitimate” government of Syria, Russia has become hostage to Assad’s viciousness, and it is forced to use its vast media outlets to defend Assad at all cost. Assad knows this and believes he is inviolable.
On the other hand, in the Skripal case, the UK government seems to equally be hostage to its military-industrial complex (deep state) and thus behaves as shockingly as the Russians. The Russians are justified that this event is a blatant provocation by the UK, probably originally on instructions from the US (the deep state as opposed to the embattled Trump), who followed up the Skripal case immediately with swingeing pre-prepared sanctions, and unprecedented massive expulsions of diplomats.
The latest round of US sanctions are harsh and are a reminder of the UK’s sanctions against Japan in the late 1930s, except that they are unlikely to hurt modern day Russia as they did Japan back then (whatever the UK Daily Mail’s jubilant editorials say), given that the country is not indebted by the standards of many modern states and that its trade with China is unaffected.