The UN OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) report regarding Khan Sheikhoun has sharply divided opinion, largely because the US and some of its closest allies choose to maintain its central finding of “confidence” the Syrian Arab Republic was guilty is a finding of indisputable fact, whilst Russia (with the open or tacit support of others) argues the report is amateurish and has failed to properly investigate the possibility of a false flag attack. In this article I will look at some of the deficiencies in the JIM report which have led directly to the JIM’s own deserved demise.
It is not the purpose of this article to look at all the different theories which have been put forward regarding the alleged Khan Sheikhoun attack, or the political machinations at play or to attempt to attack the positions of the different commentators who have opined on the matter. It is not even possible, without writing a book, to go into all the deficiencies of the report. Instead I will focus chiefly on selected aspects of the JIM report and Russia’s response laid out in the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the UN’s “Additional Assessment of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism Seventh Report.