The alleged chemical weapons use in Syria is a provocation carried out by the rebels to attract a foreign-led strike, Russian President Vladimir Putin said at the G20 summit.
There was no 50/50 split of opinion on the notion of a military strike against the Syrian President Bashar Assad, Putin stressed refuting earlier assumptions.
Only Turkey, Canada, Saudi Arabia and France joined the US push for intervention, he said, adding that the UK Prime Minister’s position was not supported by his citizens.
Russia, China, India, Indonesia, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy were among the major world’s economies clearly opposed to military intervention.
President Putin said the G20 nations spent the “entire” Thursday evening discussing the Syrian crisis, which was followed by Putin’s bilateral meeting with UK Prime Minister David Cameron that lasted till 3am Moscow time.
Russia “will help Syria” in the event of a military strike, Putin stressed as he responded to a reporter’s question at the summit
“Will we help Syria? We will. And we are already helping, we send arms, we cooperate in the economics sphere, we hope to expand our cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, which includes sending humanitarian aid to support those people – the civilians – who have found themselves in a very dire situation in this country,” Putin said.
Putin said he sat down with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of the G20 summit and talked for about half an hour in “a friendly atmosphere”.
Although the Russian and the American leaders maintained different positions regarding the Syrian issue, Putin said they “hear” and understand each other.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry will continue discussing the situation in Syria “in the short run,” Putin said.
Meanwhile, President Obama reiterated in his summit speech that the US government believes Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces were behind the chemical weapons use.
Obama pledged to make a good case on the issue for both the international community and the American people, saying many nations are already “comfortable” with the US’ opinion.
While admitting “a number of countries” at the summit stressed any military action plan should go through the UN Security Council, Obama said the US is in a different “camp” that questioned the UNSC effectiveness.
Samples taken at the Syrian town where chemical weapons were allegedly used indicate that it was rebels – not the Syrian army – behind the attack, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has said.
Russia has handed over the analyzed samples to the UN, he added.
“I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon),” Churkin said on Tuesday.
Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, Churkin pointed out.
“It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” he said.
Churkin added that the contents of the shell “didn’t contain chemical stabilizers in the toxic substance,”and therefore “is not a standard chemical charge.” The RDX – an explosive nitroamine commonly used for industrial and military applications – found in the warhead was not consistent with what the armed forces use.
According to Moscow, the manufacture of the ‘Bashair-3’ warheads started in February, and is the work of Bashair al-Nasr, a brigade with close ties to the Free Syrian Army.
Churkin stressed that unlike other reports which have been handed to the UN, the samples were taken by Russian experts at the scene, without any third party involvement.
More than 30 people died in the Khan al-Assal incident in the northern province of Aleppo in March. Damascus was the first to ask for the UN investigation, accusing opposition fighters of launching a chemical weapon attack. Syrian rebel groups denied the accusations, in turn blaming government forces.
However, the UN investigation has largely become stalled after a group of Western nations insisted on launching an inquiry into a separate case of alleged chemical weapons use in Homs in December 2012. The inquiry requires access to military objects, which Damascus has been unwilling to give.
The UN has also decided to exclude Russian and Chinese experts from the investigation team, withSyria protesting this decision.
So far, the UN commission of inquiry for Syria has not found any conclusive evidence proving that either side of the conflict used chemical weapons. This is despite several reports submitted by the US, UK and France, which claim to show that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces used such weapons.
The Syrian government invited chief UN chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane for talks in Damascus on Monday, announcing that a rebels-linked storage site containing piles of dangerous chemicals had been discovered.
“The Syrian authorities have discovered yesterday in the city of Banias 281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said, adding that the chemicals were “capable of destroying a whole city, if not the whole country.” Continue reading
Forceful Austrian position signals deep EU divisions on Syria ahead of this month’s embargo decision
Fighters from Islamist Syrian rebel group Jabhat al-Nusra take their positions on the front line during a clash with Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Aleppo. Photograph: Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters/REUTERS
By Julian Borger, The Guardian
“Die Briten sind not amused,” is how Die Presse reported it today. “The Brits are not amused.” The Austrian foreign ministry circulated a discussion paper (known in Brussels jargon as a non-paper) among the EU member states yesterday forcefully rebutting British and French arguments for amending the European embargo on Syria to allow weapons shipments to the rebels.
Update: here is a link to an English version of the Austrian paper [click here]
The Austrian paper argues that lifting the embargo would “constitute a breach of international and EU law” and be contrary to the “principle of non-intervention and non-use of force” laid down in the UN Charter. If the weapons ended up in the hands of the al-Nusra Front, it would also violate UN Security Council resolutions on al-Qaida, given al-Nusra’s stated affiliation.
According to the Austrian press reports the UK asked the Austrians not to circulate the paper, but Vienna did it anyway – a sign of the declining clout of the UK in Brussels as the country sinks into an internecine quagmire on EU membership.
Austria has a particular reason for opposing the lifting of the arms embargo, as it has UN peacekeeping troops deployed in the line of fire on the Golan Heights, but sources in Brussels suggest the Austrians may also be expressing the views of a EU majority that has deep reservations over lifting the embargo, particularly at a time when there is at least the glimmer of diplomatic hope in the wake of the Kerry-Lavrov agreement to hold a new international conference on Syria.
This morning, the government of Israel contacted President Assad of Syria. They did so as the leader of a coalition now openly at war against Syria and Iran, with plans to broaden the conflict.
Assad was told he would be allowed to continue his rule, but on the “Jordanian model,” as a puppet of Israel and Turkey.
Israeli armor is now inside Syria, not just the occupied zone, but has closed the distance to Damascus and has that city under artillery fire.
The claimed air attacks are a ruse; Israel has been using 155 and 175 mm artillery, mobile howitzers of extreme range, enhanced by arms expert Gerald Bull, who was assassinated by Israeli agents in 1990 as his reward.
The artillery attacks on Syria, using time delay and cluster munitions, are in direct support of military actions with fire control and communications being supplied by Israeli UAV aircraft operating in Syrian air space in support of Al Qaeda led rebel group.
These terrorist groups, aided by extremists from Libya and the Persian Gulf States are being trained and supplied in Jordan and Turkey. It is hard to ignore the fact that US troops, on a secret mission to verify Israeli claims of chemical weapon use by the Syrian government, are fully complicit in aiding Al-Qaeda operations against the Syrian government.
As for chemical weapon use, a report from United Nations human rights investigators, according to Reuters, has verified that it is rebels who have been using these weapons, in particular, deadly Sarin Gas.
Former Swiss attorney general, Carla Del Ponte, representing the United Nations independent commission of inquiry, based in Geneva, is quoted in a televised interview:
“Our investigators have been in neighboring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of Sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated. This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities.”
Last week, President Obama declared that use of chemical weapons by the Assad government would represent a “red line” for the United States, justifying military action against Syria. However, despite numerous unsubstantiated news reports, the first “actionable” reports of that mythic line being crossed place Israel, Turkey and even the United States on the wrong side, aligned with Al Qaeda in the use of deadly nerve agents against Syria.
Terror’s State continues in Bahrain while Western World is asleep.
NEW YORK, (SANA)- Syria needs real unbiased aid and not just a highlight on the humanitarian situation that does not meet the precise evaluation and description of what is actually taking place in the country, said Syria’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Bashar al-Jaafari.
Al-Jaafari’s remarks came in a press statement following a closed-door session of the UN Security Council on the situation in Syria held on Wednesday.
He dismissed as “having nothing to do with reality “the statements made on the humanitarian situation in Syria by UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
These statements came in line with “the unilateral outlook to what is happening in Syria”, said al-Jaafari, lashing out at the UN representatives for refraining to admit that the Syrian government has actually been cooperative with each one of them, a cooperation that resulted in signing what was labeled as “the response plan” with the UN.
He explained how the Syrian government, in the framework of its cooperation with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, has allowed access to 11 international NGOs to deliver humanitarian aid into the Syrian territories. Continue reading
February 13, 2013 (LD) – AFP has reported that a recent NATO airstrike in Afghanistan has killed over 10 civilians in an all-too-familiar headline glossed over by the Western media in an exercise of both depravity and hypocrisy. RT’s article, “NATO airstrike kills 10 Afghan civilians, mostly women and children - officials,” notes in particular that up to 11,864 civilians were killed in Afghanistan between 2007 and 2011, and that civilian deaths before 2007 were not even tracked by the UN.
Such facts reveal alarming hypocrisy as the UN keeps almost daily, inflated tallies of civilian deaths elsewhere, in particular, in nations like Libya and Syria where Western interests have been heavily involved in regime change and in dire need of manipulating public perception worldwide. The United Nations had in fact pieced together a dubious report crafted from “witness accounts” compiled not in Syria, or even beyond its borders in a refugee camp, but instead, in Geneva by “witnesses” supplied by the so-called Syrian “opposition.”
Image: Just some of the corporate members of the US-Qatar Business Council, whose president just so happens to sit on the same board of directors of the Middle East Policy Center as Karen AbuZayd, co-author of one of many conveniently timed UN Human Rights Council reports on Syria.
Worse yet, that UN report was co-authored by Karen Koning AbuZayd, a director of the US Washington-based corporate think-tank, Middle East Policy Council. Its board of directors includes Exxon men, CIA agents, representatives of the Saudi Binladin Group (Osama Bin Laden’s family business), former ambassadors to Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar, US military and government representatives, and even the president of the US-Qatar Business Council, which includes amongst its membership, Al Jazeera, Chevron, Exxon, munitions manufacturer Raytheon (who supplied the opening salvos during NATO’s operations against Libya), and Boeing.
In other words, the very underwriters of the armed militancy that is consuming Syria are sitting along side the head of the UN commission producing reports portraying the Syrian government as guilty of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Syria has presented the UN Security Council a list of 143 foreign citizens killed in Syria fighting government troops. Damascus hopes the move will force the UN to declare the presence of foreign nationals in Syria to be international terrorism.
The Syrian government reportedly presented proof that citizens of 19 different nations had fought in the country alongside rebel forces.
Bashar Jaafari, Syria’s permanent representative to the United Nations, wrote a letter the Security Council requesting they register the list of mercenaries as an official document on the UN’s agenda of “measures to combat international terrorism.”
The UN Security Council has not yet officially recognized Syria as a country confronting international terrorism. Last month, Syria delivered a previous version of the list containing 108 names.
The new list contains the names of citizens from 19 countries accused of joining Syria’s rebels: Afghanistan, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Chad, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Pakistan, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, Turkey, Yemen and Chechnya. Since Chechnya is not a country, but a republic of the Russian Federation, the list likely contains names of Russian citizens.
The list consists of the names of people who were positively identified through ID or documents found on their bodies that helped establish their nationality. The bulk of the dead mercenaries in Syria are apparently still unidentified. Continue reading
The besieged Libyan city of Bani Walid has been plunged into chaos. Several sources told RT the former Gaddafi regime stronghold is under attack by militias bolstered by foreign mercenaries, and they used banned weapons like white phosphorous.
The sources denied reports of the last few days that Bani Walid was retaken by the Libyan government. Residents said that militia forces have continued their assault, while preventing the refugees who fled from reentering the city.
A man who claimed his relatives are trapped inside the besieged city spoke with RT, saying, “There is no food; there is nothing to support the life of people. And the militia does not allow anyone to come back to their homes.”
“They are demolishing homes with machinery and tanks. There is no communication or internet so people are not able to connect with each other,” the source said. He is currently in Egypt, and refuses to reveal his identity over fears of personal safety.
He believes the real reason for the inoperable communications is that many people have been killed inside Bani Walid by the forces besieging the city and now they are trying to prevent information about the killings to be leaked outside.
The militia attackers have claimed they are battling ‘pro-Gaddafi’ forces, but the source slammed that motive as a “lie and a dirty game.”
“They use foreign snipers, I think from Qatar or Turkey, with Qatar covering all the costs,” he said. He claimed that a ship with weapons and other equipment recently docked in the port city of Misrata, where the assault on Bani Walid is allegedly being directed.
“There is no government in Libya. Groups of militia control everything. They don’t care about Libya, they don’t care about the nation,” he said, adding allegations that the majority of militia fighters have dual citizenship or passports from other countries.
“We ask the envoy [Special Representative] of the Secretary-General of the United Nations [for Libya] Mr. Tarik Mitri – where is he now?” he said. “Where is the United Nations? Where is the EU? Where is the Human Rights Watch? We ask for an intervention now as soon as possible – please!”
In an October 23 UN session, the US blocked a statement on the violence in Bani Walid drafted by Russia, which condemned the ongoing conflict in the city and calling for a peaceful resolution.
“I can confirm that pro-government militias used internationally prohibited weapons. They used phosphorus bombs and nerve gas. We have documented all this in videos, we recorded the missiles they used and the white phosphorus raining down from these missiles,” Bani Walid-based activist and lawyer Afaf Yusef told RT. Continue reading