Russia Seeks U.N. Investigation of New Syrian Chemical Strike Claim

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Global Security Newswire Staff
Aug. 23, 2013, 8:02 a.m.

Rus­sia on Fri­day joined oth­er na­tions call­ing for a U.N. team now in Syr­ia to in­vest­ig­ate claims that a chem­ic­al strike took place near Dam­as­cus on Wed­nes­day, pos­sibly killing hun­dreds of people, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­por­ted.

U.N. Sec­ret­ary Gen­er­al Ban Ki-moon has dis­patched a top dis­arm­a­ment of­fi­cial to the Syr­i­an cap­it­al to form­ally re­quest ac­cess to the scene of the al­leged at­tack, ac­cord­ing to a Thursday re­lease.

The claims “need to be in­vest­ig­ated without delay,” his of­fice said in a state­ment. Speak­ing on Fri­day, Ban said “it’s a mat­ter of time when we will par­ti­cip­ate (in the Syr­i­an in­cid­ent),” the Xin­hua News Agency re­por­ted. The U.N. chief was to meet on Fri­day with of­fi­cials from the United King­dom, and top en­voys from the United States and Qatar also would par­ti­cip­ate in talks, Brit­ish For­eign Min­is­ter Wil­li­am Hag­ue said in com­ments re­por­ted by Re­u­ters.

Pres­id­ent Obama in an in­ter­view aired Fri­day told CNN that Wash­ing­ton of­fi­cials “don’t ex­pect co­oper­a­tion” from of­fi­cials in Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment.”

Mo­scow, though, ac­cused en­emies of Bashar As­sad’s gov­ern­ment of re­fus­ing “to guar­an­tee the safety and ef­fect­ive work of U.N. ex­perts on [rebel] ter­rit­ory,” Re­u­ters re­por­ted. The op­pos­i­tion in the coun­try’s civil war “is dir­ectly pre­vent­ing an ob­ject­ive in­vest­ig­a­tion in­to the pos­sible use of chem­ic­al weapons in Syr­ia,” ac­cord­ing to writ­ten com­ments re­leased by the Rus­si­an For­eign Min­istry.

More than 30 na­tions have called for the U.N. in­vest­ig­a­tion to ex­pand its on-the-ground probe — launched on Monday to re­view past chem­ic­al at­tack claims — to in­clude the latest al­leg­a­tions, USA Today re­por­ted. Syr­i­an rebels have at­trib­uted 800 to 1,700 deaths to Wed­nes­day’s in­cid­ent.

In­de­pend­ent ana­lyses ap­peared to be co­ales­cing around a view that the event in­volved sar­in or an­oth­er nerve agent, the Lon­don Guard­i­an re­por­ted. Neigh­bor­ing gov­ern­ments and West­ern powers are ex­pec­ted with­in days to ob­tain ma­ter­i­als taken from the site of the al­leged at­tack, ac­cord­ing to the news­pa­per.

In his re­marks to CNN, Obama said a chem­ic­al strike “starts get­ting to some core na­tion­al in­terests that the United States has, both in terms of us mak­ing sure that weapons of mass de­struc­tion are not pro­lif­er­at­ing, as well as need­ing to pro­tect our al­lies, our bases in the re­gion.”

He ad­ded, though, that “if the U.S. goes in and at­tacks an­oth­er coun­try without a U.N. man­date and without clear evid­ence that can be presen­ted, then there are ques­tions in terms of wheth­er in­ter­na­tion­al law sup­ports it [and] do we have the co­ali­tion to make it work.”

The need for crit­ic­al U.S. choices on Syr­ia has grown more ur­gent, Obama in­dic­ated in the CNN in­ter­view. The De­fense De­part­ment as of Thursday was re­vis­ing op­tions for pos­sible air at­tacks against Syr­i­an armed forces fa­cil­it­ies and oth­er sites con­trolled by As­sad, the Wall Street Journ­al re­por­ted.

What We're Following See More »
STAKES ARE HIGH
Debate Could Sway One-Third of Voters
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 34% of registered voters think the three presidential debates would be extremely or quite important in helping them decide whom to support for president. About 11% of voters are considered 'debate persuadables'—that is, they think the debates are important and are either third-party voters or only loosely committed to either major-party candidate."

Source:
YOU DON’T BRING ME FLOWERS ANYMORE
Gennifer Flowers May Not Appear After All
9 hours ago
THE LATEST

Will he or won't he? That's the question surrounding Donald Trump and his on-again, off-again threats to bring onetime Bill Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers to the debate as his guest. An assistant to flowers initially said she'd be there, but Trump campaign chief Kellyanne Conway "said on ABC’s 'This Week' that the Trump campaign had not invited Flowers to the debate, but she didn’t rule out the possibility of Flowers being in the audience."

Source:
HAS BEEN OFF OF NEWSCASTS FOR A WEEK
For First Debate, Holt Called on NBC Experts for Prep
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

NBC's Lester Holt hasn't hosted the "Nightly News" since Tuesday, as he's prepped for moderating the first presidential debate tonight—and the first of his career. He's called on a host of NBC talent to help him, namely NBC News and MSNBC chairman Andy Lack; NBC News president Deborah Turness; the news division's senior vice president of editorial, Janelle Rodriguez; "Nightly News" producer Sam Singal, "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd, senior political editor Mark Murray and political editor Carrie Dann. But during the debate itself, the only person in Holt's earpiece will be longtime debate producer Marty Slutsky.

Source:
WHITE HOUSE PROMISES VETO
House Votes to Bar Cash Payments to Iran
9 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The House passed legislation late Thursday that would prohibit the federal government from making any cash payments to Iran, in protest of President Obama's recently discovered decision to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash in January. And while the White House has said Obama would veto the bill, 16 Democrats joined with Republicans to pass the measure, 254-163."

Source:
NO SURPRISE
Trump Eschewing Briefing Materials in Debate Prep
9 hours 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:
×