John Kerry, de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken in de Verenigde Staten, is ervan overtuigd: Syrië heeft vorige week chemische wapens ingezet bij een aanval tegen rebellen. Tegen verslaggevers zei de minister dat de wandaad van het regime van Assad “het geweten van de wereld moet schokken”. President Barack Obama gaat volgens Kerry de regering in Damascus verantwoordelijk houden voor dit “morele onfatsoen”, zoals hij het zelf noemt. “Volgens elke maatstaf is dat onvergeeflijk.” Eerder zei de minister als dat Washington “weinig twijfel” had dat Syrië gifgas had ingezet tegen zijn burgers.
Following is a transcript of a news conference on chemical weapons in Syria by Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday [26 augustus 2013] in Washington, provided by Federal News Service.
Well, for the last several days President Obama and his entire national security team have been reviewing the situation in Syria. And today I want to provide an update on our efforts as we consider our response to the use of chemical weapons.
What we saw in Syria last week should shock the conscience of the world. It defies any code of morality. Let me be clear. The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard, it is inexcusable. And despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.
The meaning of this attack goes beyond the conflict on Syria itself. And that conflict has already brought so much terrible suffering. This is about the large-scale indiscriminate use of weapons that the civilized world long ago decided must never be used at all, a conviction shared even by countries that agree on little else.
There is a clear reason that the world has banned entirely the use of chemical weapons. There is a reason the international community has set a clear standard and why many countries have taken major steps to eradicate these weapons. There is a reason why President Obama has made it such a priority to stop the proliferation of these weapons, and lock them down where they do exist. There is a reason why President Obama has made clear to the Assad regime that this international norm cannot be violated without consequences. And there is a reason why no matter what you believe about Syria, all peoples and all nations who believe in the cause of our common humanity must stand up to assure that there is accountability for the use of chemical weapons so that it never happens again.
Last night, after speaking with foreign ministers from around the world about the gravity of this situation, I went back and I watched the videos — the videos that anybody can watch in the social media, and I watched them one more gut-wrenching time. It is really hard to express in words the the human suffering that they lay out before us.
As a father, I can’t get the image out of my head of a man who held up his dead child, wailing while chaos swirled around him, the images of entire families dead in their beds without a drop of blood or even a visible wound, bodies contorting in spasms, human suffering that we can never ignore or forget. Anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass.
What is before us today is real, and it is compelling.
So I also want to underscore that while investigators are gathering additional evidence on the ground, our understanding of what has already happened in Syria is grounded in facts, informed by conscience and guided by common sense. The reported number of victims, the reported symptoms of those who were killed or injured, the firsthand accounts from humanitarian organizations on the ground, like Doctors Without Borders and the Syria Human Rights Commission — these all strongly indicate that everything these images are already screaming at us is real, that chemical weapons were used in Syria.
Moreover, we know that the Syrian regime maintains custody of these chemical weapons. We know that the Syrian regime has the capacity to do this with rockets. We know that the regime has been determined to clear the opposition from those very places where the attacks took place. And with our own eyes, we have all of us become witnesses.
We have additional information about this attack, and that information is being compiled and reviewed together with our partners, and we will provide that information in the days ahead.
Our sense of basic humanity is offended not only by this cowardly crime but also by the cynical attempt to cover it up. At every turn, the Syrian regime has failed to cooperate with the U.N. investigation, using it only to stall and to stymie the important effort to bring to light what happened in Damascus in the dead of night. And as Ban Ki- moon said last week, the U.N. investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used, a judgement that is already clear to the world.
I spoke on Thursday with Syrian Foreign Minister Muallem, and I made it very clear to him that if the regime, as he argued, had nothing to hide, then their response should be immediate: immediate transparency, immediate access, not shelling. Their response needed to be unrestricted and immediate access. Failure to permit that, I told him, would tell its own story.
Instead, for five days the Syrian regime refused to allow the U.N. investigators access to the site of the attack that would allegedly exonerate them. Instead, it attacked the area further, shelling it and systematically destroying evidence. That is not the behavior of a government that has nothing to hide. That is not the action of a regime eager to prove to the world that it had not used chemical weapons. In fact, the regime’s belated decision to allow access is too late and is too late to be credible.
Today’s reports of an attack on the U.N. investigators, together with the continued shelling of these very neighborhoods, only further weakens the regime’s credibility. At President Obama’s direction, I’ve spent many hours over the last few days on the phone with foreign ministers and other leaders. The administration is actively consulting with members of Congress, and we will continue to have these conversations in the days ahead. President Obama has also been in close touch with the leaders of our key allies, and the president will be making an informed decision about how to respond to this indiscriminate use of chemical weapons.
But make no mistake: President Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world’s most heinous weapons against the world’s most vulnerable people. Nothing today is more serious, and nothing is receiving more serious scrutiny. Thank you.
Moral Obscenity: Toxic background to US chemical ‘highground’ [RT: 29 augustus 2013]
Washington claims there’s a moral reason to attack. But the use of chemical weapons was of no concern in the wars that the US waged in the past. WARNING! Some images in this report could be disturbing for some users.
Chemical Hypocrisy: Lies and Disinformation on the Road to War [Corbettreport, 29 augustus 2013]
We are being told that this attack is being prepared because Assad crossed the “red line” of chemical weapons use. This is a lie. America has never cared about the victims of chemical weapons attacks ever in its history unless it can achieve its own military objectives by parading on the corpses of those victims. This time is no exception. Find out more about the history of America’s chemical hypocrisy in this week’s Eyeopener report from BoilingFrogsPost.com.
Obama: ‘I Have Not Made a Decision’ on Syria [PBS 28 augustus 2013]
President Barack Obama said he had not yet made his decision regarding a U.S. strike on Syria during an interview with PBS NewsHour senior correspondents Judy Woodruff and Gwen Ifill. The president said that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s regime alleged use of chemical weapons would factor into his calculation and he warned that the Assad should be held accountable.
Lie #1. “The Assad regime there has been killing its own people by the tens of thousands.”
Lie #2. “Nobody disputes, or hardly anybody disputes, that chemical weapons were used on a large-scale in Syria against civilian populations. We have looked at all the evidence and we do not believe the opposition possessed chemical weapons of that sort. . . We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out, and if that’s so, then there needs to be international consequences.”
‘Saudi in Syria to weaken Iran, not for human rights’ [RT: 27 augustus 2013]
RT spoke to Hans Blix, who headed the UN’s weapon inspection team to Iraq before and during the 2003 US -led invasion. He says there’s a campaign in the media to force governments to interfere in Syria – but the real purpose of intervention would be far from defending civilians there.
Assad forces accused of killing hundreds in nerve gas attack [Euronews, 21 augustus 2013]
Syrian activists have accused the forces of President Basher al-Assad of killing hundreds of people in a nerve gas attack. The assault on rebel held areas on the outskirts of the capital Damascus left over 200 people dead according to medical sources. The reports, which could not be independently verified, come as a UN team is in Syria to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons during the two-year civil war. The Syrian government denies the use of nerve gas.
Sharmine Narwani on the geopolitics of the Syrian War, The Corbett Report, september 2, 2013: “Writer and political analyst Sharmine Narwani [Mideast Shuffle] joins us to break down the geopolitics behind the Syrian war. We discuss the main players in the Syrian conflict and their competing agendas and explore her new article, “Bandar ibn Israel,” detailing Prince Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud’s strange disappearance and reappearance in the thick of the Syrian war.”