The U.N. Meets Next Week. Can They Agree on Syria’s Chemical Weapons?

John Kerry warned Russia on Thursday that the Syrian issue “is not a game.”

Secretary of State John Kerry warns the United Nations from the State Department to act on Syrian chemical weapons ahead of next week's General Assembly.
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Matt Vasilogambros
Sept. 19, 2013, 11:53 a.m.

The U.N. Gen­er­al As­sembly con­venes next week, and Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry is not tak­ing any chances on Syr­ia.

As world lead­ers con­verge on New York on Wed­nes­day, the U.S. will press the U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil to fi­nal­ize a mech­an­ism to find and des­troy Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al-weapons stock­pile, a deal that Kerry and Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov agreed to over the week­end. But while there was an agree­ment between these two na­tions, they still re­main di­vided over the fun­da­ment­al point that led to this agree­ment, and pre­vi­ously a mil­it­ary threat from the U.S.: who was re­spons­ible for a chem­ic­al-weapons at­tack that killed more than 1,000 people.

The find­ings from a U.N. re­port re­leased this week “were as cat­egor­ic­al as they were con­vin­cing” that the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment — and not op­pos­i­tion fight­ers — car­ried out the at­tack, Kerry said from the State De­part­ment on Thursday. While Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad said in an in­ter­view with Fox News on Thursday that he had not read the U.N. re­port and could not com­ment on it, Rus­sia has already lam­basted it, call­ing it biased and in­com­plete.

Des­pite this dis­agree­ment, any sort of fi­nal­ized plan re­gard­ing Syr­ia’s weapons is de­pend­ent on co­oper­a­tion from the Se­cur­ity Coun­cil, and more spe­cific­ally between the U.S. and Rus­sia.

But Kerry’s com­ments were not only a warn­ing to Rus­sia and the rest of the in­ter­na­tion­al com­munity, they also served as a flat-out re­but­tal to As­sad’s com­ments since the at­tack. Kerry said, “This fight about Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons is not a game,” and the U.N. must act.

“I would say to the com­munity of na­tions, time is short,” he said. “Let’s not spend time de­bat­ing what we already know. In­stead, we have to re­cog­nize that the world is watch­ing to see wheth­er we can avert mil­it­ary ac­tion and achieve through peace­ful means even more than what those mil­it­ary strikes prom­ised.”

And while Syr­ia and Rus­sia have blamed pre­vi­ous chem­ic­al-weapons at­tacks on the op­pos­i­tion fight­ers, whom As­sad has dubbed “ter­ror­ists,” Kerry said Thursday that “there’s not a shred of evid­ence” that the op­pos­i­tion has the cap­ab­il­it­ies to carry out such an at­tack.

What We're Following See More »
TWO MONTHS AFTER REFUSING AT CONVENTION
Cruz to Back Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST
WHO TO BELIEVE?
Two Polls for Clinton, One for Trump
1 days ago
THE LATEST

With three days until the first debate, the polls are coming fast and furious. The latest round:

  • An Associated Press/Gfk poll of registered voters found very few voters committed, with Clin­ton lead­ing Trump, 37% to 29%, and Gary John­son at 7%.
  • A Mc­Clatchy-Mar­ist poll gave Clin­ton a six-point edge, 45% to 39%, in a four-way bal­lot test. Johnson pulls 10% support, with Jill Stein at 4%.
  • Rasmussen, which has drawn criticism for continually showing Donald Trump doing much better than he does in other polls, is at it again. A new survey gives Trump a five-point lead, 44%-39%.
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

In contrast to Hillary Clinton's meticulous debate practice sessions, Donald Trump "is largely shun­ning tra­di­tion­al de­bate pre­par­a­tions, but has been watch­ing video of…Clin­ton’s best and worst de­bate mo­ments, look­ing for her vul­ner­ab­il­it­ies.” Trump “has paid only curs­ory at­ten­tion to brief­ing ma­ter­i­als. He has re­fused to use lecterns in mock de­bate ses­sions des­pite the ur­ging of his ad­visers. He prefers spit­balling ideas with his team rather than hon­ing them in­to crisp, two-minute an­swers.”

Source:
TRUMP NO HABLA ESPANOL
Trump Makes No Outreach to Spanish Speakers
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Donald Trump "is on the precipice of becoming the only major-party presidential candidate this century not to reach out to millions of American voters whose dominant, first or just preferred language is Spanish. Trump has not only failed to buy any Spanish-language television or radio ads, he so far has avoided even offering a translation of his website into Spanish, breaking with two decades of bipartisan tradition."

Source:
$1.16 MILLION
Clintons Buy the House Next Door in Chappaqua
2 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Bill and Hillary Clinton have purchased the home next door to their primary residence in tony Chappaqua, New York, for $1.16 million. "By purchasing the new home, the Clinton's now own the entire cul-de-sac at the end of the road in the leafy New York suburb. The purchase makes it easier for the United States Secret Service to protect the former president and possible future commander in chief."

Source:
×