Kerry Says ‘Raw Data’ Points to New Syria Chemical Strikes

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at an airport in the United Kingdom on Wednesday. Kerry on Thursday said unconfirmed, "raw data" appears to support French assertions that Syria's government launched over a dozen chemical attacks in recent months.
National Journal
Diane Barnes
May 15, 2014, 10:01 a.m.

U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said un­con­firmed “raw data” ap­pears to back French find­ings that Syr­ia launched more than a dozen new chem­ic­al at­tacks.

“It has been made clear by Pres­id­ent Obama and oth­ers that use would res­ult in con­sequences,” Kerry said in Lon­don on Thursday. “We’re not go­ing to pin ourselves down to a pre­cise time, date, man­ner of ac­tion, but there will be con­sequences if it were to be proven.”

Kerry made the re­marks when asked about De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel’s Wed­nes­day com­ment that he had “not seen any evid­ence of the spe­cif­ics” be­hind as­ser­tions laid out this week by French For­eign Min­is­ter Laurent Fabi­us. The top French dip­lo­mat ac­cused Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment of us­ing chem­ic­al arms on at least 14 oc­ca­sions since late Oc­to­ber.

Hagel, speak­ing to re­port­ers in Saudi Ar­a­bia, noted that al­leg­a­tions of re­cent chlor­ine-gas use in Syr­ia’s civil war are un­der in­vest­ig­a­tion by the world’s chem­ic­al-weapons watch­dog.

The Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons must “deeply” scru­tin­ize the al­leg­a­tions, be­cause any new use of chem­ic­al arms in the 3-year-old con­flict may carry sig­ni­fic­ant im­plic­a­tions, the Pentagon chief said.

“If there has been a con­tin­ued use or any use of chem­ic­al weapons, that would af­fect” an in­ter­na­tion­al ef­fort to dis­mantle the As­sad re­gime’s chem­ic­al ar­sen­al, Hagel said. The gov­ern­ment pledged to re­lin­quish its chem­ic­al-war­fare ma­ter­i­als after sar­in nerve agent killed hun­dreds of people in a rebel-held Dam­as­cus sub­urb last Au­gust, prompt­ing threats of an in­ter­na­tion­al mil­it­ary re­sponse.

On Thursday, Hagel’s Is­raeli coun­ter­part joined France in char­ging As­sad’s re­gime with launch­ing chlor­ine-gas at­tacks, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

“We still see it now,” Is­raeli De­fense Min­is­ter Moshe Yaalon said of chem­ic­al-weapons use by the gov­ern­ment in Dam­as­cus. He made the re­mark in Tel Aviv, dur­ing a joint news con­fer­ence with Hagel.

As­sad’s gov­ern­ment still has not placed roughly 100 met­ric tons of its de­clared chem­ic­al-arms sub­stances in in­ter­na­tion­al cus­tody, and wor­ries have per­sisted that the re­gime is con­ceal­ing some of its stock­piles, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted. Still, no signs have emerged that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is weigh­ing any new threat of force, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

What We're Following See More »
BIG CHANGE FROM WHEN HE SELF-FINANCED
Trump Enriching His Businesses with Donor Money
13 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign." A campaign spokesman "said the increased office space was needed to accommodate an anticipated increase in employees," but the campaign's paid staff has actually dipped by about 25 since March. The campaign has also paid his golf courses and restaurants about $260,000 since mid-May.

Source:
QUESTIONS OVER IMMIGRATION POLICY
Trump Cancels Rallies
22 hours ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump probably isn't taking seriously John Oliver's suggestion that he quit the race. But he has canceled or rescheduled rallies amid questions over his stance on immigration. Trump rescheduled a speech on the topic that he was set to give later this week. Plus, he's also nixed planned rallies in Oregon and Las Vegas this month.

Source:
‘STRATEGY AND MESSAGING’
Sean Hannity Is Also Advising Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Donald Trump's Fox News brain trust keeps growing. After it was revealed that former Fox chief Roger Ailes is informally advising Trump on debate preparation, host Sean Hannity admitted over the weekend that he's also advising Trump on "strategy and messaging." He told the New York Times: “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States. I never claimed to be a journalist.”

Source:
THE SHAKE-UP CONTINUES
RNC’s Spicer to Work from Trump HQ
1 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump's campaign and the Republican party will coordinate more closely going forward, with the GOP's top communicator and chief strategist Sean Spicer increasingly working out of Trump campaign headquarters, the campaign confirmed Sunday."

Source:
MORE PALACE INTRIGUE
Manafort Resigns from Trump Campaign
4 days ago
THE LATEST

In a statement released Friday morning, the Trump campaign announced that Paul Manafort has resigned as campaign chairman. The move comes after fresh questions had been raised about Manafort's work in Russia and Ukraine, and Trump brought in Stephen Bannon "as a de facto demotion for Manafort."

Source:
×