Is Syria concealing the full extent of the chemical weapons in its possession? A report published on Tuesday by CNN alleged that the US is currently examining new intelligence which may indicate that the Bashar al-Assad regime may not declare its chemical weapons arsenal in full, and may possess a hidden stockpile of chemical weapons past the conclusion of the efforts to destroy such weapons.
The report, which quoted several US officials, indicated that US intelligence agencies, the US Department of Defense, State Department and the White House are going over the intelligence, and an effort is currently underway to obtain more information so as to fully recognize the efforts being carried out by the Assad regime.
According to a US official quoted in the report, while the intelligence being examined is not conclusive at this point, “there are information threads that could shake our confidence - things have been done recently which indicate that Syria is not ready to see all of its chemical weapons destroyed.”
As Rachel Maddow reported a few days ago, America really is the world police for weapons of mass destruction: we’ve helped secure and destroy WMDs from Kazakhstan, Mexico, South Africa, and all over the world. So if Assad follows through (as applying to the Chemical Weapons Convention suggests) we can expect Syria’s chemical weapons to be safely tucked away for later disposal.
Related: here’s a great segment from 2011 about the National Nuclear Security Administration, “the Department of Saving the World.” Somehow the GOP thought cutting their budget was a good idea.
It’s not what Vladimir Putin’s New York Times op-ed says that’s so worrisome; it’s what it doesn’t say. As a Russian and as someone who has been to Syria multiple times since the beginning of the conflict to investigate war crimes and other violations, I would like to mention a few things Putin overlooked…
There is not a single mention in Putin’s article, addressed to the American people, of the egregious crimes committed by the Syrian government and extensively documented by the UN Commission of Inquiry, local and international human rights groups, and numerous journalists: deliberate and indiscriminate killings of tens of thousands of civilians, executions, torture, enforced disappearances and arbitrary arrests. His op-ed also makes no mention of Russia’s ongoing transfer of arms to Assad throughout the past two and a half years.
The Russian president strategically emphasizes the role of Islamic extremists in the Syrian conflict. Yes, many rebel groups have committed abuses and atrocities. Yet Putin fails to mention that it is the Syrian government that is responsible for shooting peaceful protesters (before the conflict even started) and detaining and torturing their leaders - many of whom remain detained - and that the continued failure of the international community to respond to atrocities in Syria allows crimes on all sides to continue unaddressed.
Putin’s plea to use the United Nations Security Council to resolve the conflict sounds great, until you remember that, from the very start of this conflict, Russia has vetoed or blocked any Security Council action that may bring relief to Syria’s civilians or bring perpetrators of abuses in Syria to account.
MOSCOW Syria on Monday quickly welcomed a call from Russia, its close ally, to place Syrian chemical arsenals under international control, then destroy them to avert a U.S. strike, but did not offer a time frame or any other specifics.
The statement by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem appeared to mark the first official acknowledgement by Damascus that it possesses chemical weapons and reflected what appeared to be an attempt by Syrian President Bashar Assad to avoid the U.S. military attack.
But it remained to be seen whether the statement represented a genuine goodwill gesture by Syria or simply an attempt to buy time.
“Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” al-Moallem said during a visit to Moscow, where he held talks with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov.
OH THE DEMOCRAT PARTY IS THE REAL RACISTS BECAUSE YOU KEEP BRINGING IT UP THE KLAN WERE ALL DEMOCRATS THE DEMOCRAT PARTY IS THE PARTY OF SLAVERY AND JIM CROW AND AL GORE’S FATHER FILLIBUSTERED THE CIVIL RIGHTS ACT HOW COULD WE BE RACIST IF WE WERE GOING TO VOTE FOR HERMAN CAIN HUH HUH HUH???
Here’s the full context, in case anyone thinks I’m taking Rush out of context:
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday that Syria could prevent a military attack if President Bashar al-Assad handed over all his chemical weapons to the international community within the next week but added that Assad was not about to do so.
When asked by a reporter whether there was anything Assad’s government could do or offer to stop an attack, Kerry said:
“Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week - turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”
OPPOSITION to the “dumb war” in Iraq helped win Barack Obama the White House and secured him a Nobel peace prize without trying. The president is now learning the loneliness of the war leader, as he prepares a reluctant America for military strikes on Syria, with—or, he hinted—without formal backing from Congress.
Mr Obama triggered rancorous debate in Washington after making a surprise announcement on August 31st that he wanted congressional approval for strikes against Bashar Assad’s regime, in response to nerve-agent attacks that left more than 1,000 dead. Though congressional support is far from guaranteed, and opinion polls show that Americans oppose air strikes on Syria (see chart), Mr Obama declared that action to prevent future uses of chemical weapons was necessary.
“I do think that we have to act,” the president said during a brief visit to Sweden on his way to a G20 summit in St Petersburg. If resolutions and condemnations were the only response to Mr Assad’s use of chemical weapons, he suggested, it would signal that international norms could be flouted “with impunity”.
It was a week of ironies. Mr Obama has been a reluctant warrior over Syria, insisting that American intervention risked doing more harm than good. He went to Congress to make his opponents take shared responsibility for any decision to strike in the Middle East, or to leave the Assad regime unpunished.
Assad has used chemical weapons against the rebels (and civilians) in his civil war.
Chemical weapons are an international no-no.
What is America to do, without deeply involving itself in yet another Mid-East War?
The answer is tragically simple:
1. Destroy the chem-weapon supplies.
2. Destroy the chem-weapon factories.
3. Murder the units who deployed chem-weapons in the recent attacks.
4. Provide aid and safety for refugees and the injured.
5. Possibly, provide training for non-terrorist refugees. (This is a big if for me.)
The whole point of this exercise is:
We don’t care about your civil war, Syria — work it out amongst yourselves; what we care about is Assad using WMDs against civilians. And that’s a bad precedent.
I really hope the President makes that sort of case on Tuesday.
I am not in favor of bombing random sites in Syria; I am furious at the people who make and deploy chemical weapons. Bomb the shit out of them (or some other operation that would not release dangerous chemicals into the locality).
In My Arrogant Opinion (IMAO).