- The Washington Times - Friday, April 7, 2017

There’s no chance Syrian President Bashar Assad ordered the chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians on Tuesday, former Republican congressman and three-time White House hopeful Ron Paul insisted afterwards.

Mr. Paul raised doubts over the Syrian government’s role in this week’s deadly chemical weapons attack during a Wednesday taping of his YouTube show, “The Liberty Report.”

“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” Mr. Paul said during the episode. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run,” he added, the latter being an alternative name for the Islamic State terror group.

“The blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad,” the former Texas congressman continued. “It’s not so easy though, is it? What happened four years ago in 2013, you know, this whole thing about crossing the red line? Ever since then, the neocons have been yelling and screaming, a part of the administration has been yelling and screaming about Assad using poison gas.”

According to Mr. Paul, “it doesn’t make any sense for Assad under these conditions to all of a sudden use poisonous gases.

“I think there is a zero chance he would have done, you know, this deliberately,” he added.

Mr. Paul shared Tuesday’s episode through his official Twitter account afterwards in a tweet that called the chemical weapons attack a “false flag.”

The Trump administration said its inclined to believed otherwise, however, and authorized the U.S. military on Thursday to fire 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airfield where the administration said Assad’s regime launched Tuesday’s assault.

“There is no doubt in our minds that Syria and the regime under Bashar Assad were responsible for this attack,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday.

Mr. Assad’s regime called Thursday’s retaliatory strike “reckless,” “irresponsible” and “shortsighted,” Russian media reported afterwards.

Mr. Paul, 81, represented Texas on Capitol Hill for over 20 years prior to his retirement in 2013. He launched presidential bids in 1988, 2008 and 2012, and placed second in the 2011 Ames Straw Poll. He is the father of Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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