DAMASCUS, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- With the arrival of UN chemical weapons inspection team in Syria, many Syrians began to wonder: whether the international community is searching for a pretext to intervene in Syria militarily, similar to that in 2003 when America invaded Iraq over the chemical weapons pretext?
One of the sub-reasons behind the uncertainty was also the appointment of Swedish expert Ake Sellstrom, who served as the former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, as the head of the inspection team in Syria.
However, one of the features of the probe in Syria is that it's based on an agreement between the UN and the Syrian government.
The agreement was for the UN inspectors to probe the alleged use of chemical weapons by the rebels in the northern town of Khan al-Assal. However, the Syrian opposition has urged the UN to inspect the use of chemical weapons in other two locations that haven't been made public.
At least 25 people were killed and 130 others wounded on March 19 when armed men fired a rocket stuffed with chemical materials at Khan al-Asal.
The Syrian government and the opposition have accused each other of using chemical weapons and both have denied it.
Since last year, the United States and several European countries have floated fears of Syria's chemical weapons "falling into the wrong hands" if the Syrian administration falls. Israel also said it had plans to intervene to secure those arsenals in case of a "regime collapse."
While Washington said the Syrian administration's use of chemical weapons would be "a red line" to trigger military intervention, Damascus repeatedly stressed "even if we have such weapons we will not use them," but warned that the rebels might obtain chemical bombs and use it against civilians to frame the Syrian army and draw in foreign military actions.
Yet, Syrian analysts, while stressing that the United States has intentions to repeat the Iraqi scenario, brushed off any possibility of a similar scenario due to the "special situation" of Syria.
They said the international allies of President Bashar al-Assad and the current situation inside the country is highly unlikely to draw in foreign military intervention, at least in the current phase.
"There are attempts by the Western countries, mainly the United States, to repeat the Iraqi scenario in Syria," Hmaidi al-Abdullah, a political expert, told Xinhua Monday.
He, however, stressed that plans for repeating the Iraqi scenario will not succeed "due to the different political climate and the current balances of powers in the world."
Abdullah explained that "at the times of the U.S.-led invasion on Iraq, the international community was subdued to the Western hegemony, primarily the American one," adding that the situation is different these days.
He said Moscow's recent stance has emerged as a strong pole that ended the unipolarity of the West, adding that another reason behind the difference between the cases of Iraq and Syria is the agreement between the superpowers in the UN Security Council to make the mission of the inspection team evenhanded.
For his part, Maher Morhej, the head of the Syrian Youth Party, also agreed with Abdullah that the intention of repeating the Iraqi scenario does exist but strained by the development on the international and regional arena.
According to Morhej, "The only task of this mission is to determine whether the chemical weapons were used in Syria but not to name the party responsible for the usage and that's one of the points that were agreed upon."
"I don't expect the situation to reach the point of the Iraqi one," he said, adding that the Western powers used the chemical weapons issue to draw attention to the stocks of chemical weapons in Syria and their fears of the fall of such stocks in the hands of the rebels in case of a regime collapse.
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