On April 12, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis revaled that no decision had been reached by President Donald Trump about a strike on Syria. Mattis added that the U.S. is still waiting to see the evidence of a chemical attack.
“We are not engaged on the ground there, so I cannot tell you that we have evidence, though we certainly had a lot of media and social media indicators that either chlorine or sarin were used,” Mattis said.
He also complained that Russia and Syria had allegedly opposed the investigation.
The Defense Secretary said that the US “will not know from this investigating team that goes in, if we can get them in, if the regime will let them in, we will not know who did it.”
“They can only say that they found evidence or did not, and each day that goes by as you know it is a non-persistent gas so it becomes more and more difficult to confirm. So that is where we are at right now.”
It looks that the Defense Secretary accidentally forgot that Russia and Syria had been first to suggest an independent investigation of the Dmoua incident and to invite OPCW investigators that are set to arrive Syria this week.
Furthermore, Mattis’ statements are in contrast to a public attitude of the US diplomacy. Over the last few days, US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley and US President Donald Trump have repeatedly accused the Assad government of being behind the attack. The US President has repeatedly threatened to strike Syria. A White House Press Secretary has claimed that the US does not rule out striking Russian forces in Syria.
Now, Mattis says that the US still needs evidence. So, what changed?