Skip to comments.UN notes 'concrete suspicions' that Syrian rebels used chemical weapons
Posted on 05/06/2013 10:28:39 PM PDT by Cronos
UN human rights investigators have spoken to the victims of Syrias civil war and gathered medical testimonies which point to the Syrian rebels having used sarin nerve gas, while any allegations of its use by the government remain unsubstantiated.
The United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria has concluded that no evidence of the use of sarin by Syrias government troops has so far been uncovered, said the lead commission member Carla Del Ponte on Sunday.
In an interview to Swiss-Italian television, Del Ponte revealed that the "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."
The new report now makes the long-standing accusations of the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad look weaker: "This was use on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities," Del Ponte continued, though she has given no indication yet of where and when the nerve agent was used.p>However, in an apparent attempt to walk back claims made by Del Ponte, the commission released a statement Monday stating no conclusive findings had been reached on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic wishes to clarify that it has not reached conclusive findings as to the use of chemical weapons in Syria by any parties to the conflict. As a result, the Commission is not in a position to further comment on the allegations at this time, the statement read.
Despite the apparent turn-around, the Commissions investigation is still separate from the one initiated by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. The latter has stalled, for the time being.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has urged against the escalation in the region.
"We insist that this most important issue and escalating of the anti-Syrian emotion not be politicized," the official statement said. "We confirm it's inappropriate to delay - under created and dangerous pretexts - the response to Syria's call onto the UN in connection with the use of chemical weapons by the forces of the opposition in March of this year."
March saw two alleged chemical attacks take place in Aleppo and the capital Damascus, while December of last year saw one in Homs as well, with accusations being thrown back and forth between the government and the opposition.
The White House says that it is highly skeptical that opposition forces are behind the use of chemical weapons in Syria, believing instead that President Bashar Assad's regime is to blame.
"We find it highly likely that chemical weapons, if they were in fact used in Syria - and there is certainly evidence that they were - that the Assad regime was responsible," said Carney in a White House briefing on Monday in response to Del Pontes claims.
The US has been insinuating that all such transgressions are by the Syrian government, and has been getting more insistent on using any available pressure point s to weaken Bashar Assad, the latest being a threat by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel that the country may be on the verge of openly sending weapons to the Syrian rebels.
There was also talk of a red line being crossed if any evidence pointing to the governments use of chemical agents was discovered. President Barack Obama has warned that this would be a "game-changer" for the Syrian president. He added to this at a recent conference in Mexico, saying "As we've seen evidence of further bloodshed, potential use of chemical weapons inside of Syria, what I've said is that we're going to look at all options."
Yet, the information from the UN probe that alleges that chemical weapons were in fact being used by the rebels has coincided with Israel carrying out two bombings of Syria within a space of 72 hours, with the US preferring to leave the incident without comment.
The United States has previously said it has "varying degrees of confidence" that president Assad has used chemical weapons against his population.
But it would be strategically illogical for Damascus to use chemical weapons given their relative dominance in the ongoing conflict, Eric Denece, Director of the French Centre for Intelligence Studies, told RT.
They [the Syrian government] control more than 90 percent of the territory. They are in a position where they are going to win the war against the rebels, so they dont have to use chemical weapons because it would be absolutely counterproductive, he argues.
The Syrian uprising, which has been ongoing for two years now, has claimed over 70,000 lives and displaced upwards of 1,2 million people into neighboring countries.
After Fast & Furious, Benghazi and the Boston "tragedy" I've become highly skeptical of anything coming out of this White House so much so that I'm finding myself going to Russian news sites for news.
Will it lead to an ‘irrefutable hunch’?
Do they need to be characterized as such to preserve the “flexible red line”?
If the WH and the UN agree that the rebels didn’t do it, then it’s a pretty good bet the rebels did it.
They disagree over the issue, according to this Russian article. Can’t trust any of the sources except for maybe Israel, who has something to worry about if the rebels have WMD, I guess.
Exactly, hence the Israeli bombing of key sites.
Where did the rebels get the chemical weapons? I must have missed that part.
probably from the Sauds...
“Obama trying to lead us to war to protect his Sunni brethren?”
Obama has policies in place that favor the Shias over the Sunni. Iran is Shia. The Syrian revolution is mostly Shia and many of the fighters are foreigners.
“Where did the rebels get the chemical weapons? I must have missed that part.”
When Assad deployed the chemical weapons from their storage sites, he put them in convoys. No matter how you protect a convoy the rebels can concentrate on one and take it. Also, there have been many defections from Assad’s army. It’s entirely possible that somebody defected and took the weapons with them; or ordered a convoy into a trap.
The situation is volatile and fluid. When Assad deployed the weapons it was obvious he’d lose some. He may have been thinking that if he left them in 12 closely guarded locations he gave the Israelis only 12 targets. Now there are probably dozens of mobile sites with weapons. Assad may also have deployed as a threat or signal that opposition had better stand down. Since nothing changed he had no option except to use the weapons.
Assad’s weakness can be seen in how he’s using his tanks. Tanks are not mobile pill boxes. In urban battle they must be protected from assault by ground forces. Go to youtube and type “Syrian tank” and you’ll see that the tanks appear to have no soldiers covering them. This indicates Assad has equipment, but not many men.
Hence the apparent loss of chemical weapons.
The ‘Saddam’ Hussein (not the Barry one) shipped many closely-guarded convoys of SOMETHING to Syria.
Each and every single one of the zillions of ‘esperts’ AGREED they were WMD.
They don’t ‘go bad’.
They don’t evaporate.
SOMEBODY is going to get their hands on them.
Ooooops. I fergot. Bush was a ‘liar’. Old news. Disregard. My bad.
After the Benghazi lies in an attempt to sway public opinion, that stole the 2012 Presidential election (that Candy Crowley gave to Obama in the last debate on this very issue), there is nothing that this Administration says that the public should believe.
I, and others, said early on, that the use of chemical weapons in Syria was most likely an attempt by the rebels to make it appear as if Assad’s forces had used them. The purpose was to bring world condemnation on him and his government so that he would lose his Russian backing. I, personally do not think he would have been so stupid to have done so, as he has never exhibited such stupidity in the past.
I think Our Dear Leader is wise to hold off for now - not so much because of what is uncertain out there in the public eye - but, because he doesn’t know what facts his political opponents have at hand, just ready to release to the world press (forget the U.S. media, they’re pretty much in the tank for him, until they’re dragged kicking and screaming into the fray), he’s going to have to play defense.
Look for one or more defensive moves, such as what we’ve seen this past week. For example, closing Gitmo; re-emphasis on gun control; immigration reform. Anything he can do on other political issues will take some of the focus away from the big story of the week, and that is Benghazi. Even the chemical weapons in Syria issue is a distraction from that.
Look for some big wag-the-dog story.... But I’m not sure there’s anything that can really distract at this point, short of initiating a major military action, or another bombing as we saw in Boston. Just look back over the past few years. every time we’ve had a major Congressional hearing into the Administration’s activities, something has happened to detract media and public attention. If we see one of those or something similar, we have to be extremely skeptical. One time can be just happenstance; twice, a coincidence; the third time reveals a conspiracy in play; the fourth, ????
Obama has policies in place that favor the Sunnis over the Shia. Iran is Shia. The Syrian revolution is mostly Sunni and many of the fighters are foreigners from Saudi Arabia, sponsored by Qatar etc.
probably the US via Benghazi-gate