US SLAMS RUSSIA FOR DEFENDING SYRIA OVER CHEMICAL ATTACK THAT CLAIMED CIVILIAN LIVES

The article originally appeared on India Today.

The United States has come down heavily on Russia for raising questions over a United Nations report that has blamed Syria’s dictator Bashar al Assad for using chemical weapons to kill innocent civilians.

The United Nations-Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (UN-OPCW) released last week its latest report on the Khan Sheikhun sarin gas attack on April 4, 2017 in Syria which had killed over 100 Syrians including children and women concluding that it was indeed the Assad regime that had released the poisonous gas.

The report by the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a body of experts formed by the UN Security Council unanimously, said “the panel was confident that the Syrian Arab Republic was responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhun on 4 April 2017” which was instantly countered by Russia, one of the few allies of the Syrian dictator.

Rejecting the JIM report and the experts behind it, Russia had said the panel of experts had failed to meet the norms of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in case of Syria with serious lapses and an inept investigation concluding that “a thorough reading of the report showed it to hardly be professionally prepared and it was rather amateurish and was generally based on speculations and selective use of facts.”

Slamming the Russian stand, The White House said, “Russia’s attempts to undermine and eliminate the JIM show a callous disregard for the suffering and loss of life caused by the use of chemical weapons and an utter lack of respect for international norms.”

Calling the Russian bluff, The White House said this April attack was the fourth time the JIM confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime “underscoring the brutal and horrifying barbarism of Bashar al-Assad” and that protecting such a dictator by Russia even more egregious.

Refuting the Russian demands of a new set of rules for chemical weapons investigators in Syria, the US “implored the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the JIM so that it may continue to identify the perpetrators of these horrific attacks and send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.” Last month Russia had vetoed a proposal in UNSC to extend the JIM’s work in Syria but later on had said that it would soon come up with its motion to set norms for JIM’s extension.

THOUSANDS KILLED IN SYRIAN CHEMICAL ATTACKS

Thousands of Syrians lost their lives in chemical attacks. Though under international pressure, in 2013, Syria signed the Convention on Chemical Weapons that bans production, storage, use and transportation of chemical weapons, it has been alleged that Syria never disclosed its full chemical arsenal for international inspection and destruction.

And these allegations are not baseless. An ABC News report earlier this year, quoting the White House, listed about at least over a dozen chemical attacks in Syria since 2012. These include the chemical attack of August 2013 in Aleppo which killed around 1500 people and left thousands crippled with symptoms of nerve gas attack. There was an international hue and cry but the responsibility could not be affixed.

Also, a BBC report in May this year, based on intelligence documents, said Syria was still making chemical and biological weapons at three sites. The report further said that both Russia and Iran were aware of it. Also, a Human Rights Watch report published the same month said there was evidence of use of nerve gas by Syria in multiple chemical attacks.

After Assad’s chemical attack on April 4 in Idlib city’s Khan Sheikhun, the US had launched a missile attack on a Syrian airbase that was reportedly used to launch the Idlib chemical attack. It was the first direct US military attack on Syria. Syria had then denied its hands and Russia had strongly defended it. On the contrary, it blamed the Syrian rebels for the attack, like it does every time.

ASSAD’S STRENGTH: RUSSIA, CHINA AND IRAN’S SUPPORT

Ignoring the global calls for isolating Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin has been standing firm to support him, morally and militarily. Russian fighter jets pounding Syrian rebels and Islamic State bases are a regular occurrence. Almost all major western nations are against al-Assad. If he is standing tall even after that, it is because of Russian support only.

Assad got another big world power in his favour when China, in August 2016, announced to join Russia in providing humanitarian assistance and military training to Syria.

In February 2017, Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council Resolution aimed to impose more sanctions on Syria for using chemical weapons. Then Syria has Iran’s support. Shiite Iran has a religious connect to defend the Syrian government of Alawites, a Shia offshoot, and strategic interests in defeating Syria’s Sunni rebels.

©SantoshChaubey

US HITS BACK, SAYS RUSSIA PROTECTING BASHAR AL ASSAD AND HIS CHEMICAL ATTACKS IS EGREGIOUS

The United States has come down heavily on Russia for raising questions over a United Nations report that has blamed Syria’s dictator Bashar al Assad for using chemical weapons to kill innocent civilians.

The United Nations-Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (UN-OPCW) released last week its latest report on the Khan Sheikhun sarin gas attack on April 4, 2017 in Syria which had killed over 100 Syrians including children and women concluding that it was indeed the Assad regime that had released the poisonous gas.

The report by the UN-OPCW Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM), a body of experts formed by the UN Security Council unanimously, said “the panel was confident that the Syrian Arab Republic was responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhun on 4 April 2017″ which was instantly countered by Russia, one of the few allies of the Syrian dictator.

Rejecting the JIM report and the experts behind it, Russia had said the panel of experts had failed to meet the norms of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) in case of Syria with serious lapses and an inept investigation concluding that “a thorough reading of the report showed it to hardly be professionally prepared and it was rather amateurish and was generally based on speculations and selective use of facts.”

Slamming the Russian stand, The White House today said, “Russia’s attempts to undermine and eliminate the JIM show a callous disregard for the suffering and loss of life caused by the use of chemical weapons and an utter lack of respect for international norms.”

Calling the Russian bluff, The White House said this April attack was the fourth time the JIM confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime “underscoring the brutal and horrifying barbarism of Bashar al-Assad” and that protecting such a dictator by Russia even more egregious.

Refuting the Russian demands of a new set of rules for chemical weapons investigators in Syria, the US “implored the UN Security Council to renew the mandate of the JIM so that it may continue to identify the perpetrators of these horrific attacks and send a clear message that the use of chemical weapons will not be tolerated.” Last month Russia had vetoed a proposal in UNSC to extend the JIM’s work in Syria but later on had said that it would soon come up with its motion to set norms for JIM’s extension.

Thousands of Syrians have lost their lives in chemical attacks. Though under international pressure, in 2013, Syria signed the Convention on Chemical Weapons that bans production, storage, use and transportation of chemical weapons, it has been alleged that Syria never disclosed its full chemical arsenal for international inspection and destruction.

And these allegations are not baseless. An ABC News report earlier this year, quoting the White House, listed about at least over a dozen chemical attacks in Syria since 2012. These include the chemical attack of August 2013 in Aleppo which killed around 1500 people and left thousands others crippled with symptoms of nerve gas attack. There was an international hue and cry but the responsibility could not be affixed.

Also, a BBC report in May this year, based on intelligence documents, said Syria was still making chemical and biological weapons at three sites. The report further said that both Russia and Iran were aware of it. Also, a Human Rights Watch report published the same month said there was evidence of use of nerve gas by Syria in multiple chemical attacks.

After Assad’s chemical attack on April 4 in Idlib city’s Khan Sheikhun, the US had launched a missile attack on a Syrian airbase that was reportedly used to launch the Idlib chemical attack. It was the first direct US military attack on Syria. Syria had then denied its hands and Russia had strongly defended it. On the contrary, it blamed the Syrian rebels for the attack, like it does every time.

©SantoshChaubey

OPCW GETS THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE 2013: A WELL-TIMED DECISION

By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.
Thorbjorn Jagland, Chairman, Norwegian Nobel Committee
Oslo, October 11, 2013

Okay, so a logical decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in deciding on the OPCW, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an international watchdog entrusted with the arduous task of freeing the world from the chemical weapons.

Accorded sanctity and authority by the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty that came into force in 1997, OPCW has been working to stop production and use of chemical weapons and to destroy the existing stockpile.

Organizations like OPCW or IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency, the nuclear watchdog and the recipient of 2005 Peace Nobel) are the silent warriors working tirelessly for global peace.

Though a well-deserved accolade for the body of work the organization represents, OPCW did not make for headlines as a major Peace Nobel contender. And so it was a pleasant surprise for anyone who knows about the work of the organization and its recent tough and dangerous mission in Syria. Their convoy in Syria has come under attack during inspection visit in September.

OPCW is in news for its collaborative work with the United Nations in destroying the chemical weapons stockpile of the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria.

The world saw the horror of the use of chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb through the video footage released by the Syrian opposition. The validity of the video clips was authenticated by many intelligence agencies. The major ones held the Assad regime responsible. A tough military action could only be avoided because of the Russian ploy to save Assad. The dictator in Vladimir Putin went to the extra mile to defend the dictator in Bashar al-Assad.

The result is the compromise – Syria ratifying the Chemical Weapons Convention and agreeing to destroy its chemical weapons stockpile by the international experts from the OPCW and the UN.

Peace Nobel to OPCW is the recognition of the work done over the years but the decision is certainly influenced by the Syrian context.

It is the call to be on the process to restore the sanctity of ‘Humanity First’.

It is an endorsement to promote the policies of global peace. It is the appreciation to the commitment to make the world a better place. It is a message to the countries still sitting over their stockpiles.

It is an encouragement to continue with the work, because the world is still facing the threat of thousands of tons of existing chemical weapons that like the nuclear weapons, can wipe out the humanity.

Though with Syria, the Chemical Weapons Convention now has 190 countries as its signatories, there are countries yet to destroy their chemical weapons including Russia and the Unites States. Then there are belligerent war-mongering nations like North Korea.

And no one can say there would not be another Adolf Hitler tomorrow armed with some Holocaust like ideology to threaten the mass extinction of civilizations.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/