Newer posts are loading.
You are at the newest post.
Click here to check if anything new just came in.

October 01 2013

Turkish Court Investigates Syrian Jihadist Use of Chemicals - Al-Monitor : the Pulse of the Middle…

Turkish Court Investigates Syrian Jihadist Use of Chemicals - Al-Monitor: the Pulse of the Middle East
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/09/turkish-syrian-jihadis-chemical-court.html

An investigation in progress in Turkey and a court case brought by prosecutors in Adana province in south Turkey also indicate that the Syrian opposition was making efforts to produce chemical weapons. According to an indictment by an Adana prosecutor dated July 22, Syrian national Haytham Qassab — who has connections with Ahrar-i Sham and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria — along with four Turkish citizens he was working with, tried to obtain the elements needed for production of chemical weapons from a variety of sources.

The 130-page indictment prepared by the prosecutor mainly lists telephone contacts between the accused and with sources of chemical supplies. The indictment says the accused were trying to procure fuses, chrome piping to build mortar tubes and certain chemicals. The chemicals they were looking for were thionyl chloride [SOC12], potassium fluoride [KF], methanol [CH3OH], isopropanol [C3H8O], isopropanolamine [C3H9NO], white phosphorus [P4], medical glucose and buoxite. The prosecutor charges that when these elements are combined, sarin gas can be produced and that was the aim of the accused.

#false_flag, #golfe_du_Tonkin

September 29 2013

UN_inspectors back in syria for new chemical probes

#UN_inspectors back in #syria for new chemical probes
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/un-inspectors-back-syria-new-chemical-probes

http://english.al-akhbar.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/4cols/leading_images/107501-01-08.jpg

A UN convoy of vehicles carrying inspectors investigating a chemical weapons attack in Syria, drives through the Lebanese village of Taanayel after crossing into Lebanon from Syria on 31 August 2013. (Photo: AFP - Anwar Amro)

UN chemical weapons experts, in Syria to investigate alleged use of the banned arms, on Sunday left their Damascus hotel to carry out a new mission, an AFP photographer said. The experts, who arrived in the Syrian capital last Wednesday on (...)

#chemical_attack #Top_News

September 14 2013

In Syria, Israel finds a 'blessed war'€™

In Syria, Israel finds a ’blessed war’€™
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/14/in-syria-israel-findsaablessedwara.html

So why has the Israeli government expended so much energy pressing Washington to draw a red line on the Assad regime’s alleged use of chemical weapons, and why was the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the key outfit of America’s pro-Israel lobby, pressing Congress to authorize military force? The answer is not just about Syria. Indeed, in a press release calling for U.S. intervention, AIPAC homed in not on Damascus but Tehran, stating, “As we witness unthinkable horror in Syria, the urgency of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions is paramount.”

Zalman Shoval, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington and Netanyahu confidant, put it more succinctly when he declared, “The very fact that the U.S. was getting ready to act militarily in Syria is positive with regards to the situation in Iran. Confidence in an American commitment that Iran won’t get the bomb has been strengthened.”

Since Obama’s decision to seek congressional authorization for a military strike on Syria, Israeli media have depicted him as a weak, dithering figure who has failed to demonstrate “seriousness” in the face of evil. With U.S. missile strikes on hold, and possibly off the table, the Israeli government has begun disseminating threats that it will take matters into its own hands — by bombing Iran, not Syria.

But even if the U.S. fails to intervene, the Israelis can take heart in knowing that the “blessed war” will continue well into the future.

September 09 2013

Md. Rep. Chris Van Hollen speaks from 1988 Iraq gas experience in backing Syrian strike - The…

Md. Rep. Chris Van Hollen speaks from 1988 Iraq gas experience in backing Syrian strike - The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/md-rep-chris-van-hollen-speaks-from-1988-iraq-gas-experience-in-backing-syrian-strike/2013/09/07/1544cb92-174c-11e3-804b-d3a1a3a18f2c_story.html?hpid=z2

“I have always found it cruelly ironic that the United States and the world did nothing when Saddam Hussein actually used chemical weapons against his people, and then wrongly went to war more than 15 years later when Saddam Hussein did not even have any chemical weapons,” Van Hollen said.

Today, Van Hollen wants to make sure Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad doesn’t escape punishment as Saddam did in 1988. He is helping to lead the effort to round up congressional support to authorize President Obama to carry out air and missile strikes to deter Syria — and others — from using poison gas again.

(...)

Even Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler refrained from using chemical weapons on the battlefield.

“I’m well aware of the argument that this was a bloody civil war in which over 100,000 people have already been killed. Some people ask, ‘What’s the difference?’ ” Van Hollen said.

“But there is a reason that the international community for almost 90 years has banned the use of poison gas. That’s because it’s a weapon of mass destruction that kills indiscriminately,” he said.

He noted that last month’s gas attack killed more people at one time than any other assaults during the Syrian fighting.

(...)

“I strongly believe that if the United States and the international community had taken some action [in 1988], then it would have reined in Saddam Hussein early on, that the failure to act emboldened Saddam Hussein to take reckless action, including the invasion of Kuwait,” Van Hollen said.

#WMD #gas #ADM #Syrie #Irak #Saddam

September 08 2013

Il y a des preuves mais elles doivent rester scrètes... Chemical attacks in Syria. Where's the…

Il y a des preuves mais elles doivent rester scrètes...

Chemical attacks in Syria. Where’s the proof Assad was responsible? - CSMonitor.com
http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Foreign-Policy/2013/0908/Chemical-attacks-in-Syria.-Where-s-the-proof-Assad-was-responsible

In his initial statement ten days ago about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, Secretary of State was adamant about who was to blame for an attack in the suburbs of Damascus that he said killed 1,429 people, including 426 children.

“We know where the rockets were launched from, and at what time,” Sec. Kerry said, citing but not detailing intelligence reports. “We know where they landed, and when. We know rockets came only from regime-controlled areas, and went only to opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods.”
 
“We know that a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime,” Kerry added.

In blasting what she called a “blatant violation of international law, a war crime and a crime against humanity,” European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton also pointed a finger at Assad for the Aug. 21 chemical attack.
”[The Syrian government] is the only one that possesses chemical weapons agents and the means of their delivery in a sufficient quantity," she said Saturday.

Want your top political issues explained? Get customized DC Decoder updates.

Some members of Congress have received classified intelligence briefings, presumably including evidence the Obama administration knows it needs to provide if it’s to win congressional authorization for the use of US military force in Syria.

But publicly, at least, the White House has yet to make its case in any detail, and its latest comments haven’t clarified things.

On Sunday, White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said a “common-sense test” rather than “irrefutable, beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence” makes the Syrian government responsible.

“We’ve seen the video proof of the outcome of those attacks,” Mr. McDonough said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“All of that leads to a quite strong common-sense test irrespective of the intelligence that suggests that the regime carried this out,” he said. “Now do we have a picture or do we have irrefutable beyond-a-reasonable-doubt evidence? This is not a court of law and intelligence does not work that way. So what we do know and what we know the common-sense test says is [Assad] is responsible for this. He should be held to account.”

Part of the problem for Obama is that showing US evidence in greater detail could reveal sources and methods of intelligence gathering – a problem all administrations have faced over the years, whether it has to do with signals gathering and code breaking, satellite photos, or spies on the ground.

1 | 2
Next

AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action - Haaretz

AIPAC to deploy hundreds of lobbyists to push for Syria action - Haaretz

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.545661

The influential pro-Israel American Israel Public Affairs Committee will deploy hundreds of activists next week to win support in Congress for military action in Syria, amid an intense White House effort to convince wavering U.S. lawmakers to vote for limited strikes.

“We plan a major lobbying effort with about 250 activists in Washington to meet with their senators and representatives,” an AIPAC source said on Saturday.

Congressional aides said they expected the meetings and calls on Tuesday, as President Barack Obama and officials from his administration make their case for missile strikes over the apparent use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government.

The vote on action in Syria is a significant political test for Obama and a major push by AIPAC, considered one of the most powerful lobbying groups in Washington, could provide a boost.

The U.S. Senate is due to vote on a resolution to authorize the use of military force as early as Wednesday. Leaders of the House of Representatives have not yet said when they would vote beyond saying consideration of an authorization is “possible” sometime this week.

Obama has asked Congress to approve strikes against Assad’s government in response to a chemical weapons attack on Aug. 21 that killed more than 1,400 Syrians.

But many Republicans and several of Obama’s fellow Democrats have not been enthused about the prospect, partly because war-weary Americans strongly oppose getting involved in another Middle Eastern conflict.

Pro-Israel groups had largely kept a low profile on Syria as the Obama administration sought to build its case for limited strikes after last month’s attack on rebel-held areas outside Damascus.

Supporters of the groups and government sources acknowledged they had made it known that they supported U.S. action, concerned about instability in neighboring Syria and what message inaction might send to Assad’s ally, Iran.

But they had generally wanted the debate to focus on U.S. national security rather than how a decision to attack Syria might help Israel, a reflection of their sensitivity to being seen as rooting for the United States to go to war.

September 07 2013

Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.

Direct link between Assad and gas attack elusive for U.S.
http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE98603A20130907?irpc=932

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - With the United States threatening to attack Syria, U.S. and allied intelligence services are still trying to work out who ordered the poison gas attack on rebel-held neighborhoods near Damascus.

No direct link to President Bashar al-Assad or his inner circle has been publicly demonstrated, and some U.S. sources say intelligence experts are not sure whether the Syrian leader knew of the attack before it was launched or was only informed about it afterward.

While U.S. officials say Assad is responsible for the chemical weapons strike even if he did not directly order it, they have not been able to fully describe a chain of command for the August 21 attack in the Ghouta area east of the Syrian capital.

It is one of the biggest gaps in U.S. understanding of the incident, even as Congress debates whether to launch limited strikes on Assad’s forces in retaliation.

...

A declassified French intelligence report describes a unit of the SSRC, known by the code name “Branch 450”, which it says is in charge of filling rockets or shells with chemical munitions in general.

U.S. and European security sources say this unit was likely involved in mixing chemicals for the August 21 attack and also may have played a more extensive role in preparing for it and carrying it out.

“BEST EVIDENCE”

Bruce Riedel, a former senior U.S. intelligence expert on the region and sometime advisor to the Obama White House, said that intelligence about the SSRC’s alleged role is the most telling proof the United States has at hand.

“The best evidence linking the regime to the attack at a high level is the involvement of SSRC, the science center that created the (chemical weapons) program and manages it. SSRC works for the President’s office and reports to him,” Riedel said.

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war | The Daily Caller

Verify chemical weapons use before unleashing the dogs of war | The Daily Caller
http://dailycaller.com/2013/08/29/verify-chemical-weapons-use-before-unleashing-the-dogs-of-war

The Obama administration has selectively used intelligence to justify military strikes on Syria, former military officers with access to the original intelligence reports say, in a manner that goes far beyond what critics charged the Bush administration of doing in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war.

According to these officers, who served in top positions in the United States, Britain, France, Israel, and Jordan, a Syrian military communication intercepted by Israel’s famed Unit 8200 electronic intelligence outfit has been doctored so that it leads a reader to just the opposite conclusion reached by the original report.

[…]

According to the doctored report, the chemical attack was carried out by the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division of the Syrian Army, an elite unit commanded by Maher al-Assad, the president’s brother.

However, the original communication intercepted by Unit 8200 between a major in command of the rocket troops assigned to the 155th Brigade of the 4th Armored Division, and the general staff, shows just the opposite.

The general staff officer asked the major if he was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. From the tone of the conversation, it was clear that “the Syrian general staff were out of their minds with panic that an unauthorized strike had been launched by the 155th Brigade in express defiance of their instructions,” the former officers say.

According to the transcript of the original Unit 8200 report, the major “hotly denied firing any of his missiles” and invited the general staff to come and verify that all his weapons were present.

Plus loin:

An Egyptian intelligence report describes a meeting in Turkey between military intelligence officials from Turkey and Qatar and Syrian rebels. One of the participants states, “there will be a game changing event on August 21st” that will “bring the U.S. into a bombing campaign” against the Syrian regime.

The chemical weapons strike on Moudhamiya, an area under rebel control, took place on August 21. “Egyptian military intelligence insists it was a combined Turkish/Qatar/rebel false flag operation,” said a source familiar with the report.

Pentagon Is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria With a Focus on Forces - NYTimes.com

Pentagon Is Ordered to Expand Potential Targets in Syria With a Focus on Forces - NYTimes.com
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/06/world/middleeast/pentagon-is-ordered-to-expand-potential-targets-in-syria-with-a-focus-on-fo

President Obama has directed the Pentagon to develop an expanded list of potential targets in Syria in response to intelligence suggesting that the government of President Bashar al-Assad has been moving troops and equipment used to employ chemical weapons while Congress debates whether to authorize military action.

September 03 2013

En janvier 2012, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni a autorisé la livraison de composants susceptibles…

En janvier 2012, le gouvernement du Royaume-Uni a autorisé la livraison de composants susceptibles d’être utilisés pour la fabrication du gaz sarin.

Revealed : UK Government let British company export nerve gas chemicals to Syria - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/revealed-uk-government-let-british-company-export-nerve-gas-chemicals

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, will today be asked by MPs to explain why a British company was granted export licences for the dual-use substances for six months in 2012 while Syria’s civil war was raging and concern was rife that the regime could use chemical weapons on its own people. The disclosure of the licences for potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride, which can both be used as precursor chemicals in the manufacture of nerve gas, came as the US Secretary of State John Kerry said the United States had evidence that sarin  gas was used in last month’s atrocity in Damascus.

Mais c’était pour des usages civils et d’ailleurs le temps a manqué pour les livrer.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “You see the system working, with materials not exported. The facts are that the licences were revoked and the exports did not take place. The Prime Minister’s view is that that demonstrates that the system is working. There is a sanctions regime, which is a very active part.”

Critics of the Business Secretary, whose department said it had accepted assurances from the exporting company that the chemicals would be used in the manufacture of metal window frames and shower enclosures, said it appeared the substances had only stayed out of Syria by chance.

September 01 2013

Syria Statement - International Crisis Group

Syria Statement - International Crisis Group
http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/publication-type/media-releases/2013/mena/syria-statement.aspx

To precisely gauge in advance the impact of a U.S. military attack, regardless of its scope and of efforts to carefully calibrate it, by definition is a fool’s errand.  In a conflict that has settled into a deadly if familiar pattern - and in a region close to boiling point - it inevitably will introduce a powerful element of uncertainty.  Consequences almost certainly will be unpredictable.  Still, several observations can be made about what it might and might not do:

A military attack will not, nor can it, be met with even minimal international consensus; in this sense, the attempt to come up with solid evidence of regime use of chemical weapons, however necessary, also is futile.  Given the false pretenses that informed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and, since then, regional and international polarisation coupled with the dynamics of the Syrian conflict itself, proof put forward by the U.S. will be insufficient to sway disbelievers and skepticism will be widespread.

It might discourage future use of chemical weapons by signaling even harsher punishment in the event of recidivism - an important achievement in and of itself.  Should the regime find itself fighting for its survival, however, that consideration might not weigh heavily.  Elements within the opposition also might be tempted to use such weapons and then blame the regime, precisely in order to provoke further U.S. intervention.

It could trigger violent escalation within Syria as the regime might exact revenge on rebels and rebel-held areas, while the opposition seeks to seize the opportunity to make its own gains.  
Major regional or international escalation (such as retaliatory actions by the regime, Iran or Hizbollah, notably against Israel) is possible but probably not likely given the risks involved, though this could depend on the scope of the strikes.

Military action, which the U.S. has stated will not aim at provoking the regime’s collapse, might not even have an enduring effect on the balance of power on the ground.  Indeed, the regime could register a propaganda victory, claiming it had stood fast against the U.S. and rallying domestic and regional opinion around an anti-Western, anti-imperialist mantra. 

Ultimately, the principal question regarding a possible military strike is whether diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict can be reenergized in its aftermath.  Smart money says they will not: in the wake of an attack they condemn as illegal and illegitimate, the regime and its allies arguably will not be in a mood to negotiate with the U.S. Carefully calibrating the strike to hurt enough to change their calculations but not enough to prompt retaliation or impede diplomacy is appealing in theory.  In practice, it almost certainly is not feasible.  

Whether or not the U.S. chooses to launch a military offensive, its responsibility should be to try to optimize chances of a diplomatic breakthrough.  This requires a two-fold effort lacking to date: developing a realistic compromise political offer as well as genuinely reaching out to both Russia and Iran in a manner capable of eliciting their interest - rather than investing in a prolonged conflict that has a seemingly bottomless capacity to escalate.  

In this spirit, the U.S. should present - and Syria’s allies should seriously and constructively consider - a proposal based on the following elements:

1- It is imperative to end this war . The escalation, regional instability and international entanglement its persistence unavoidably stimulates serve nobody’s interest.

2- The only exit is political . That requires far-reaching concessions and a lowering of demands from all parties. The sole viable outcome is a compromise that protects the interests of all Syrian constituencies and reflects rather than alters the regional strategic balance;

3- The Syrian crisis presents an important opportunity to test whether the U.S. and the Islamic Republic of Iran can work together on regional issues to restore stability;

4- ...

(...)

Reposted byiranelection iranelection

August 30 2013

August 29 2013

The Surprising, Sordid Story of Sarin, Syria's Alleged Chemical Weapon - ABC News

The Surprising, Sordid Story of Sarin, Syria’s Alleged Chemical Weapon - ABC News
http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/surprising-sordid-story-sarin-syrias-alleged-chemical-weapon/story?id=20096730

German chemists “discovered” the nerve agent, then called “Substance 146,” in 1938 while doing pesticide research. (That’s its molecular composition shown above.) It was named “Sarin” after the four researchers who developed it: Schrader, Ambros, Rüdiger and Van der L*in*de.

One of those inventors, Otto Ambros, became Hitler’s chief chemical weapons engineer and put Sarin into production for the Nazi war effort. Ambros (...) also oversaw the production of a government rubber plant at the Auschwitz concentration camp, using Jewish prisoners as labor. Many of the workers died on the job or were later put to death.

In 1948, he was convicted of war crimes and crimes against humanity at Nuremburg and sentenced to eight years in prison. One prosecutor, disgusted by the light sentence, wrote a book about Ambros and his colleagues titled “The Devil’s Chemists.” (...)

Ambros only served half of his prison sentence. After his release in 1951, he was whisked to the West to advise the U.S. Army on its own chemical weapons program — including Sarin.

...

August 28 2013

Arab League states' views on Syria response far from uniform

Arab League states’ views on Syria response far from uniform
http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-east/arab-league-states-views-on-syria-response-far-from-uniform

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait pushed for the resolution blaming the Syrian regime for the attack. The Saudi foreign minister, Saud Al Faisal, speaking later in Jeddah, said that Syria’s use of chemical weapons required a “firm and serious” response, adding that Mr Al Assad’s government had “lost its Arab identity and is no longer affiliated in any way for the Syrian civilisation”.

But Algeria objected to language in the resolution, including wording carried over from recent league resolutions on Syria, supporting the right of member countries to assist Syrians fighting in “self defence”. Iraq also abstained from voting on that paragraph, as well as one condemning the Syrian regime for the chemical weapons attack.

Egypt’s government, meanwhile, urged countries to wait for the results of an investigation by UN weapons inspectors in Damascus before assigning blame for a chemical attack. Lebanon abstained from voting on the resolution altogether.

These divisions over Syria are not new, but they have widened in recent months.

August 26 2013

Snipers fire at UN convoy traveling to Syria chemical attack site

Snipers fire at UN convoy traveling to Syria chemical attack site
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/un-begins-probe-damascus-chemical-attack

Snipers shot at United Nations experts Monday forcing them to pull back from an attempt to investigate a chemical weapons attack near Damascus, a spokesman said.

No injuries were reported when the first vehicle in a UN convoy was hit as it headed for Ghouta, east of the Syrian capital, but the team had to head back toward their base, said UN spokesman Martin Nesirky.

“The first vehicle of the chemical weapons investigation team was deliberately shot at multiple times by unidentified snipers in the buffer zone area,” Nesirky said.

“As the car was no longer serviceable, the team returned safely back to the government checkpoint,” he added.

“The team will return to the area after replacing the vehicle.”

The UN spokesman gave no other details on the venue of the sniper attack or from where the shooting came from.

August 21 2013

« Chemical attack » kills scores near Damascus, Syrian opposition claims

« Chemical attack » kills scores near Damascus, Syrian opposition claims
http://english.al-akhbar.com/content/chemical-attack-kills-scores-near-damascus-syrian-opposition-clai

An apparent chemical attack in rebel-held districts near the Syrian capital of Damascus killed scores of people on Wednesday, wire services reported.

Ce matin, les activistes annonçaient 213 morts. Dans l’après-midi 650 mort. Désormais 1300 morts.

July 26 2013

Daily Mail in £110k libel payout over Syrian chemical weapons story | Press Gazette

Daily Mail in £110k libel payout over Syrian chemical weapons story | Press Gazette
http://www.pressgazette.co.uk/daily-mail-%C2%A3110k-libel-payout-over-syrian-chemical-weapons-stor

The Daily Mail has been forced to pay more than £100,000 in damages and apologise for a story linking a UK defence company with the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

The paper has agreed to pat £110,000 plus legal costs and carry an apology on its website after it had falsely suggested that Britam Defence and two of its directors had been willing to sell chemical weapons to rebels fighting President Assad.

Older posts are this way If this message doesn't go away, click anywhere on the page to continue loading posts.
Could not load more posts
Maybe Soup is currently being updated? I'll try again automatically in a few seconds...
Just a second, loading more posts...
You've reached the end.

Don't be the product, buy the product!

Schweinderl