Newscast Media LONDON—According to an article written by journalist Seymour Hersh
published in the London Review of Books, US President Barack Obama omitted
important intelligence, and in other instances he presented assumptions as facts.
According to Hersh, US intelligence agencies produced a series of classified reports to
set the stage for a ground invasion, based on the premise that Assad had used nerve
gas against his own people. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a
suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against
“One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s
assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current
regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama
administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and
sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days
after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack
was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin
incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security
Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam,” Hersh wrote.
In his article, Hersh revealed that the same official said there was immense frustration
inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in
the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in
the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?’”
Iran, a strong and loyal friend of Syria, was convinced that an attack on Syria was
justification for an immediate attack on Israel. A military source that spoke on
condition of anonymity told FARS News Agency, “If Damascus comes under attack,
Tel Aviv will be targeted too and a full-scale war against Syria will actually issue a
license for attacking Israel.
“We are rest assured that if Syria is attacked, Israel will also be set on fire and such
an attack will, in turn, engage Syria’s neighbors,” , the source said.
Russia’s Vladmir Putin played a major role in brokering a deal that averted a possible
war in the Middle East.
Newscast Media WASHINGTON—Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad should be given the “credit” for quickly starting the process of destroying chemical weapons and arsenal, and thanked Russia for its help. “The process has begun in record time and we are appreciative for the Russian cooperation and obviously for the Syrian compliance,” he told reporters alongside Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov after talks in Indonesia.
“I think it’s extremely significant that yesterday, Sunday, within a week of the (UN) resolution being passed, some chemical weapons were being destroyed,” Kerry said. “I think it’s also a credit to the Assad regime for complying, frankly, as they are supposed to. We hope that will continue. I am not going to vouch today for what happens months down the road. But it’s a good beginning and we should welcome a
In less expansive comments on the latest developments, Lavrov said he was “satisfied”, and promised Russia would continue to ensure Assad’s government completed the dismantling process. “The Russian side will do everything so Damascus will follow the co-operation without any changes,” Lavrov told reporters in Russian, with his comments translated into English.
Experts destroyed missile warheads, aerial bombs and chemical mixing equipment Sunday on the first day of the campaign to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, the UN said.
The operation, performed by Syrian personnel under the supervision of international disarmament experts, took place under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution that will see Damascus relinquish the banned arms.
Kerry emphasised the dismantling process had occurred in “record time”, and hailed it as a model for international co-operation. “I think that was a terrific example of global co-operation, of multilateral efforts, to accomplish an accepted goal,” he said. Concerning the Geneva II conference, Lavrov said Russia and the US have agreed to push for holding Syria peace talks in mid-November. “Today we agreed on the steps needed for both the government and the opposition to come to the conference,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by the RIA-Novosti news agency.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—International disarmament experts began on Wednesday
their mission to catalogue Syria’s chemical weapons under a deal that will see the
arms turned over for destruction by mid-2014.
The 19-member team from The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of
Chemical Weapons (OPCW) arrived in Damascus on Tuesday.
Along with 14 UN staffers, they are staying at a Damascus hotel. They set up a
logistics base after arriving, but did not appear to have left the hotel by early
“In the coming days, their efforts are expected to focus on verifying information
provided by the Syrian authorities and the initial planning phase of helping the
country destroy its chemical weapons production facilities,” a UN statement said.
This should be completed by November 1, it added. An OPCA official said, “We do not
doubt the information provided by the Syrian authorities.”
President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria will comply with the UNSC resolution as it
has already turned over, on September 19, documents detailing its chemical
On Tuesday, a team of UN experts left Damascus after probing seven alleged
chemical weapons attacks for a report expected to be released in late October.
Source: Al Manar TV news
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Moscow will soon submit to the United Nations findings indicating that the Syrian opposition had used chemical weapons during the deadly civil war, the Russian foreign minister said Wednesday.
“Reports about the use of chemical weapons [in Syria] reflect the fact that the opposition regularly resorts to provocations seeking to trigger [foreign military] strikes and intervention in Syria. We have enough evidence [to prove it],” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during the 10th annual meeting of the Valdai Club, a Kremlin-backed discussion forum that brings together Russian and foreign politicians,
academics and other public figures.
“We have information related to the incidents that took place in August in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, a lot of information. We will take it all to the UN Security Council,” he added.
UN inspectors said Monday that they had found “clear and convincing evidence” that chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, were used in an August 21 attack in Ghouta that killed hundreds of people.
The US and some of its Western allies have attributed the attack to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, but Moscow and Syria have repeatedly called it a provocation by anti-Assad rebels.
Lavrov said Syrian officials had handed over evidence indicating the opposition’s possible involvement in the chemical attack to Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, who is currently on a visit to Damascus.
“I haven’t familiarized myself with it yet, but I’m convinced that the experts would work with it and, of course, we would submit it to the UN Security Council,” Lavrov said.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media MOSCOW—Russia’s state-owned TV Russia Today (RT) is reporting
that Syrian rebels (Friends of Syria) may be planning a “false flag” chemical attack on
Israel as a provocation in the midst of the Syrian crisis.
While the US showed videos of victims that succumbed to a chemical attack, there
are reports asserting that there is proof the footage of the alleged chemical attack in
Syria was fabricated, Mother Agnes Mariam el-Salib, mother superior of the St.
James Monastery in Qara, Syria, told RT. She added that she plans to submit her
findings to the UN.
Russia Today reports, the chemical attack on Israel will be a false flag, to provoke an invasion of Syria.
Yet should such an chemical attack occur against Israel, the rebels will be quick to
deny they were involved in any attack, and point to the Assad government. Assad
and his allies will deny it and point to either the rebels or Israel itself. They could say
Israel attacked itself, to provoke an attack on Syria which would eventually lead to
an attack on Iran.
Already the Saudis have been blamed for supplying the chemical weapons to
the militants, therefore, if Russia has intelligence that indicates the rebels
will launch an attack into Israel using chemical weapons, it will also have additional
evidence to reveal the source of the attacks and the culprits behind them.
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—Russia on Monday threw its backing behind a proposal that Syria’s chemical weapons be put under international control, leading Damascus to say it “welcomes the … initiative” if it would indeed help prevent a US strike on the war-torn country – a suggestion floated by Washington earlier in the day.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters in Moscow that “if putting chemical weapons in that country [Syria] under international control would prevent strikes, we’re immediately beginning to work with Damascus,” and that a proposal had already been passed on to Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem. Lavrov and Muallem had met earlier on Monday, though it was not clear when or whether they discussed the proposal.
Muallem, in turn, said that Syria “welcomes the Russian initiative” and is “confident in the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is trying to prevent American aggression against our people,” according to a Russian translation of the Arabic.
Earlier in the day, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington could refrain from attacking Syria if Damascus turns over “every single bit” of its chemical weapons to the international community within a week. However, a US State Department spokesperson later said Kerry was “making a rhetorical comment,” Reuters reported.
The text of the Russian proposal was not made public, but Lavrov said: “We are calling on the Syrian leadership not only to agree to the placement of chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also to [their] eventual destruction, and to full accession to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.”
The United States has accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad of using chemical weapons against civilians.
Most recently, Syrian rebels said the Assad regime was behind an August 21 chemical attack in a Damascus suburb that killed between 355 and 1,700 people; the United States has backed that allegation and is contemplating a retaliatory attack on Syrian government targets.
Assad has said the use of chemical weapons was a provocation by the insurgents, a stance supported by Moscow.
Source: Ria Novosti
Newscast Media DAMASCUS—A senior United Nations team tasked with investigating the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syrian conflict arrived in Damascus on Wednesday to discuss with government officials a possible inquiry into such attacks, AP reported.
This is the first such trip by international experts and the talks are expected to be thorny — focusing on about a dozen incidents in which chemical arms were allegedly used. The militants, the United States, France and Britain, have accused the Syrian government of using weapons of mass destruction, while Damascus and its ally Russia have blamed the insurgents for such attacks.
The team was invited by the Syrian government to discuss the terms of a possible probe.
Damascus has requested the UN to investigate only one of the reported attacks — a March 19 incident in the northern village of Khan al-Assal in which both rebels and the government accuse each other of using chemicals weapons — but refused inquiries into other alleged attack sites in the central city of Homs, Damascus and elsewhere.
UN officials have called on Assad’s government to grant the United Nations team unfettered access to investigate all allegations of possible chemical weapon use. Swedish chemical weapons expert Ake Sellstrom and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane arrived from neighboring Lebanon for a two day visit, during which they are to meet with senior Syrian officials, the UN said in a brief statement issued in the Syrian capital.
On July 9, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations said that firsthand evidence shows that militants, and not the Syrian army, manufactured sarin nerve gas and used it during an attack near the city of Aleppo in March.
Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said that Russian experts collected samples at the site of the attack in the region of Khan al-Assal, where over two dozen people, including 16 Syrian troops, died on March 19.
The samples were examined at a laboratory in Russia which is certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and the results of the analysis prove that a missile fired by the militants was filled with sarin, he stated. Britain, France, and the United States have accused the Syrian government of using chemical weapons. Damascus has denied the charges, saying it was actually the militants who used chemical weapons on several occasions.
On June 13, US Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes claimed in a White House statement that the Syrian government “has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale” against the foreign-backed militants “multiple times in the last year.”
In response, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said, “The White House published a statement full of lies about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, based on fabricated information, through which it is trying to hold the Syrian government responsible for such use.”
On June 15, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the materials collected by the Obama administration allegedly proving that Syrian troops used chemical weapons would not meet the requirements of the Hague-based OPCW.
Syria has been gripped by deadly unrest since 2011. According to the UN, more than 90,000 people have been killed and millions of others displaced in the violence. Damascus says the chaos is being orchestrated from outside the country, and there are reports that a very large number of the militants are foreign nationals.
Source: Tehran Times