Russia: U.N. ‘Politicized’ Analysis of Syria Nerve Gas Strike

Global Security Newswire Staff
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Sept. 18, 2013, 9:02 a.m.

A Rus­si­an of­fi­cial on Wed­nes­day ques­tioned the valid­ity of a new U.N. ana­lys­is of an Au­gust sar­in nerve agent strike in Syr­ia, rais­ing the pos­sib­il­ity that Rus­sia could sty­mie any moves by the United States and its al­lies to im­pose pun­ish­ment on Dam­as­cus for not sur­ren­der­ing its chem­ic­al ar­sen­al, Re­u­ters re­por­ted.

“We are dis­ap­poin­ted, to put it mildly, about the ap­proach taken by the U.N. sec­ret­ari­at and the U.N. in­spect­ors, who pre­pared the re­port se­lect­ively and in­com­pletely,” Rus­si­an Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Ry­ab­kov told his coun­try’s RIA Nov­osti news agency. He re­ferred to the U.N. forensic ana­lys­is, re­leased on Monday, as “politi­cized” and “one-sided.”

The United Na­tions’ ana­lys­is con­firms chem­ic­al weapons were used in the Aug. 21 at­tack in a sub­urb of Dam­a­cus, but doesn’t as­sign blame on the gov­ern­ment or rebel fight­ers.

The Syr­i­an re­gime, mean­while, has handed Rus­si­an of­fi­cials what Ry­ab­kov on Wed­nes­day de­scribed as “evid­ence that the [Syr­i­an] rebels are im­plic­ated in the chem­ic­al at­tack,” Agence France-Presse quoted him as say­ing after he met with Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad’s top en­voy. Mo­scow will “ex­am­ine the Syr­i­an ma­ter­i­als im­plic­at­ing the rebels with the ut­most ser­i­ous­ness,” he ad­ded in com­ments re­por­ted by Rus­si­an me­dia.

Speak­ing on Tues­day, Rus­si­an For­eign Min­is­ter Sergei Lav­rov said there are “ser­i­ous grounds to be­lieve that this [Aug. 21 at­tack] was a pro­voca­tion” in­ten­ded to prompt “for­eign in­ter­ven­tion” against the As­sad re­gime in the Middle East­ern coun­try’s bloody civil war, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. Lav­rov, at a press brief­ing in Mo­scow, called for the U.N. find­ings to be ex­amined along­side a re­port­er’s testi­mony, state­ments from “nuns at a nearby con­vent,” and data found on­line.

Wash­ing­ton’s en­voy to the United Na­tions, though, on Tues­day said the U.N. find­ings “make clear” that last month’s strike was the work of As­sad’s re­gime. The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has blamed the in­cid­ent for the deaths of more than 1,400 people, and only backed away from threats of an im­me­di­ate mil­it­ary re­sponse after ham­mer­ing out plans with Rus­sia for elim­in­at­ing the Syr­i­an gov­ern­ment’s chem­ic­al-war­fare stocks.

“Rock­ets that the U.N. says were used in the at­tack and that tested pos­it­ive for sar­in are the same rock­ets used by the re­gime in pre­vi­ous at­tacks,” U.S. Am­bas­sad­or to the United Na­tions Sam­antha Power stated at a U.N. Gen­er­al As­sembly dis­cus­sion. “They bore none of the char­ac­ter­ist­ics of jerry-rigged, im­pro­vised weapons. They had soph­ist­ic­ated ba­ro­met­ric fuses to dis­perse the nerve agent in the air and not on im­pact.”

U.N. find­ings also in­dic­ate that sar­in from the strike was of high­er qual­ity than ma­ter­i­al once stock­piled by Ir­aq un­der Sad­dam Hus­sein, Power said.

“This was a pro­fes­sion­ally ex­ecuted mas­sacre by the [As­sad] re­gime, which is known to pos­sess one of the world’s largest un­declared stock­piles of sar­in,” she said.

French For­eign Min­is­ter Laurent Fabi­us offered a sim­il­ar take on the U.N. re­port, Re­u­ters re­por­ted. “When you look at the amount of sar­in gas used, the vec­tors, the tech­niques be­hind such an at­tack, as well as oth­er as­pects, it seems to leave no doubt that the re­gime is be­hind it,” Fabi­us said on Tues­day.

Rus­sia does not want an ini­tial U.N. Se­cur­ity Coun­cil res­ol­u­tion on the dis­arm­a­ment plan to en­dorse armed strikes or oth­er pun­it­ive ac­tion for pos­sible non­com­pli­ance by Dam­as­cus, though it has not ruled out al­low­ing such au­thor­iz­a­tion at a later date, en­voys told the New York Times for a Tues­day art­icle. Mo­scow wields veto au­thor­ity on the 15-na­tion body.

The United States will “con­tin­ue to press” for a U.N. meas­ure that per­mits pun­it­ive steps, U.S. Sec­ret­ary of State John Kerry said in Tues­day com­ments re­por­ted by Re­u­ters. Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al dis­arm­a­ment “will hap­pen only with the United Na­tions passing a strong res­ol­u­tion. It will hap­pen with the en­force­ment of the world, with Rus­sia stand­ing by us in this ef­fort,” he said.

Still, the United States “re­serves the right to take mil­it­ary ac­tion” in­de­pend­ent of U.N. au­thor­iz­a­tion, State De­part­ment spokes­wo­man Jen Psaki told re­port­ers on Tues­day.

What We're Following See More »
BACKING OUT ON BERNIE
Trump Won’t Debate Sanders After All
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Trump, in a statement: “Based on the fact that the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged and Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win, and now that I am the presumptive Republican nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher. ... I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be.”

AKNOWLEDGING THE INEVITABLE
UAW: Time to Unite Behind Hillary
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

"It's about time for unity," said UAW President Dennis Williams. "We're endorsing Hillary Clinton. She's gotten 3 million more votes than Bernie, a million more votes than Donald Trump. She's our nominee." He called Sanders "a great friend of the UAW" while saying Trump "does not support the economic security of UAW families." Some 28 percent of UAW members indicated their support for Trump in an internal survey.

Source:
AP KEEPING COUNT
Trump Clinches Enough Delegates for the Nomination
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Donald Trump on Thursday reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Republican nomination for president, completing an unlikely rise that has upended the political landscape and sets the stage for a bitter fall campaign. Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party's unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention."

Source:
TRUMP FLOATED IDEA ON JIMMY KIMMEL’S SHOW
Trump/Sanders Debate Before California Primary?
2 days ago
THE LATEST
CAMPAIGNS INJECTED NEW AD MONEY
California: It’s Not Over Yet
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Clinton and Bernie Sanders "are now devoting additional money to television advertising. A day after Sanders announced a new ad buy of less than $2 million in the state, Clinton announced her own television campaign. Ads featuring actor Morgan Freeman as well as labor leader and civil rights activist Dolores Huerta will air beginning on Fridayin Fresno, Sacramento, and Los Angeles media markets. Some ads will also target Latino voters and Asian American voters. The total value of the buy is about six figures according to the Clinton campaign." Meanwhile, a new poll shows Sanders within the margin of error, trailing Clinton 44%-46%.

Source:
×