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Former Top Bush Official: Syria Chemical Weapons Use Could Be “Israeli False Flag Operation”

A former high-ranking official in the George W. Bush administration says that Syria’s alleged use of chemical weapons could be “an Israeli false flag operation.”

Appearing on Current TV’s “The Young Turks,” Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, formerly Colin Powell’s chief of staff, told host Cenk Uygur that his contacts in the intelligence community claimed that evidence of chemical weapons use by Syrian forces against anti-government rebels was “really flaky.” Wilkerson, who served for 31 years in the US Army, cautioned President Barack Obama to carefully weigh the causes and consequences of intervention in Syria’s two-year civil war. Earlier this week, the White House said that the president could order an attack against Syria if it is proven that the Assad regime used chemical weapons, which Obama has called a “red line” that would have “enormous consequences.”

“This could have been an Israeli false flag operation,” Wilkerson warned. “You’ve got basically an… inept regime in Tel Aviv right now,” he added, referring to the right-wing government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Wilkerson noted Israel’s current precarious situation.

“Look at Israel’s situation right now, it’s as dangerous as it’s been since 1948,” he said. “You’ve got Lebanon growing increasingly unstable with… Hezbollah having more and more political power. You’ve got Syria involved in a brutal civil war. You’ve got Iraq in Iran’s back pocket… You’ve got Saudi Arabia funding the Sunnis in Iraq. You’ve got Jordan, whose king has publicly said he wished he weren’t the king. You’ve got Egypt in an untenable position, no longer the security that Israel needed on that flank.”

“So Israel is in a very, very dangerous situation right now,” Wilkerson continued. “The president has got to be very circumspect about what he does in exacerbating that situation. Netanyahu is clueless as to this. I hope that President Obama gave him a lecture into geo-strategic realities.”

It is unclear what Israel would stand to gain from carrying out a “false flag” operation designed to bring about the downfall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Under Assad, Israel has benefited from a fragile, yet lasting, truce with Syria. Under the Islamists who would most likely replace the Assad regime, that truce could be threatened. Israel would then have two unstable, Islamist-ruled neighbors– Egypt and Syria– to deal with.

Wilkerson is no stranger to controversial commentary, although thus far, everything he’s said has been proven true.

He expressed regret about his complicity in then-Secretary of State Colin Powell’s infamous 2003 UN address, in which he unconvincingly laid out the Bush administration’s case for war against Iraq.

“My participation in that presentation at the UN constitutes the lowest point in my professional life,” he said in a 2006 PBS interview. “I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council.”

He lamented Vice President Dick Cheney’s refusal of a 2007 Iranian offer to help stabilize Iraq, end support for Hezbollah and open its nuclear program in return for US lifting of sanctions against Tehran and an end to American support for the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK), a dissident Iranian terror group. Powell’s State Department was willing to work with the Iranians and liked their offer, but according to Wilkerson, “as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the vice president’s office, the old mantra of ‘We don’t talk to evil’ … reasserted itself.”

Wilkerson has also raised eyebrows and ire by claiming that the pro-Israel lobby group AIPAC influenced the Bush administration’s decision to wage war in Iraq. This assertion is backed up by AIPAC executive director Howard Kohr, who admitted in 2003 that one of the organization’s “success stories” was its “quiet lobbying” in favor of war.

Wilkerson also accused Bush, Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of covering up the imprisonment of hundreds of innocent men and boys at Guantánamo Bay in order to protect their plans to invade Iraq.

“[Cheney] had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent,” the colonel asserted. “If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.”

Further alienating many conservatives, Wilkerson also proposed impeaching Bush and Cheney.

“You compare Bill Clinton’s peccadilloes for which he was impeached to George Bush’s high crimes and misdemeanors or Dick Cheney’s high crimes and misdemeanors, and I think they pale in significance,” he said during an NPR interview.

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