Thursday, August 29, 2013

Obama Moves Warships Closer to Syria, Meets with Intelligence Team

There were speculations yesterday in Washington of a military strike
against Syria as President Barack Obama who ordered his naval forces
to move closer to the war torn country, held intense consultations
with his intelligence team, world leaders including some members of
the Security Council, NATO and Arab allies.
Although Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary told
reportersmilitary action would be the last option, commentaries made
by Secretary of State John Kerry and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel
were all too evident that the Obama administration's frustration in
bringing Syrian strong man President Bashar Assad to step down and
allow democracy to thrive, have failed, with over 300 civilians
including children gassed to death.
Carney said Obama had received a detailed review of the range of
options available to him and his international partners as they await
the UN fact finding mission's result that may either implicate or
absolve the Assad administration in the use of deadlychemical weapons
against defenceless civilians and innocent children.
However Carney was quick to add: I do not have any doubts that the
Syrian regime used chemical weapons; a careful review of the facts
indicates that. Beyond that, we will have more to say once a decision
has been made about the response,." Insisting the regime had the
capability to unleash that level of atrocity with its stockpile and
track record
He said the President was consulting with world leaders and his
intelligence team and would speak to the nation when he was ready to
do so. "It would not mark a wider intervention. I don't wantto engage
in speculation. When the president has an announcement to make, he'll
make it."
On the support of the Security Council where Russia and China were
likely to veto any attempt to use military action against Syria,
Carney said: "The options that are being considered do not contain
within them a regime change focus. A decision about the use of
military force has not been made. The president is reviewinghis
options, plural. There will be a response. There must be a response.
We cannot allow this kind of violation of international norm"
On convening Congress to seek its support and approval to strike
against Syria Carney added: "Obviously this is a different countrywith
a different form of government. We are consulting directly with House
and Senate leaders."
However, it is clear that both Russia and China will block any attempt
to rubber stamp an invasion of Syria. Russia has already issued a
statement implicating the rebels not Syria, in the use of chemical
weapons which the Assad administration claimed was used by both sides
but is currently denying through its foreign minister.
According to Defence Secretary Hagel, "the intelligence will conclude
that it was not the rebels who used it and there'll probably be pretty
good intelligence to show that the Syrian government was responsible.
But we'll wait and determine what thefacts and the intelligence bear
Hegel echoed the statement of the Secretary of State John Kerry, that
the assets to move forward were available and that they were waiting
for the president to go.
In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron has recalled Parliamentto
address the Syrian issue insisting that Britain and other countries
could not ignore the use of chemical weapons. "Any action against
Syria would be purely about this."
The US House Leader John Boehner on the other hand was quoted as
saying there was need for consultation before contemplating any
strike: "This afternoon (House Speaker John Boehner), had preliminary
communication with the White House about the situation in Syria and
any potential response," said Brendan Buck, spokesman to the Speaker,
adding the Speaker has "called for consultations with Congress, as
well as clearly defined objectives and a broader strategy to achieve
Meanwhile UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday that
the UN team despatched to Syria spent its first day in Damascus where
it busied itself interviewing victims of the chemical warfare
unleashed in the region, witnesses, and doctors.
The team, he said, had to make a retreat after its convoy was hit by a sniper
According to the Secretary General, who said it was going to register
opposition to the Syrian government over the attack, no harm was
recorded by the team led by Swedish scientist Akke Sellststrom except
for its vehicle which was destroyed
Ban Ki-moom added following his brief from his brief by the UN High
Representative for Disarmament, Angela Kane: "What I am told is that
despite the very difficult circumstances, our team replaced their car
and returned to the suburbs of Damascus to carry out their
Mr. Ban said he is now waiting for a fuller report from Dr. Åke Sellström.
The UN team will spend 14 days with a possible extension and with the
mandate find out a chemical weapon was used by the government of Al
Assad at Khan al-Asal. as well as two other allegations reported by
Member States. According to ban Ki-moonwho spoke from Seoul where he
is on an official visit: "Every hour counts," insisting that all the
parties involved must allow the team "to conduct a full, thorough and
unimpeded investigation."
Mr Ban who said he reposed confidence on the team noted the allegation
was serious enough, a violation of international law and an outrageous
crime. Mr. Ban also reiterated that any use of chemical weapons by
anyone under any circumstances is a seriousviolation of international
law and an outrageous crime. "We cannotallow impunity in what appears
to be a grave crime against humanity," he stressed.
An update in the use of chemical weapons was recorded august 21 in
Ghouta close to Damascus with more than 300 deaths including civilians
and children. Citing those figures, the UN Committee on the Rights of
the Child (CRC) today added its voiceto the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights and others for allparties in the conflict to stop
targeting civilians.
"This atrocity is a gross violation of the Convention on the Rights of
the Child," said Committee Chairperson Kirsten Sandberg. It is a
shocking example of how children's rights are being violated as the
Syrian conflict deepens, first and foremost the right to life," said
the Secretary General
The Syrian has consumed over 100,000 people including children with
6.8 million as well as two million refugees in need of humanitarian

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