Why Russia Vetoed UN Resolution on Syria 'Gas Attack'
April 13, 2017
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com & The Associated Press
US and Western efforts to push through a new UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad government over last week's alleged chemical weapons attack were, unsurprisingly, vetoed by the Russian government, who insist any such resolution must hold off until an international investigation is conducted. Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov insisted that issuing a statement condemning someone as guilty before the investigation is "incompatible with legal norms."
Russia Vetoes UN Resolution Condemning Syria 'Gas Attack'
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(April 12, 2017) -- US and Western efforts to push through a new UN Security Council resolution condemning the Assad government over last week's alleged chemical weapons attack were, unsurprisingly, vetoed by the Russian government, who insist any such resolution must hold off until an international investigation is conducted.
The question of an investigation is still somewhat up in the air, with today's Lavrov-Tillerson press conference revealing that Lavrov had pushed the idea heavily, and that the US only agreed to "consider" the matter, while Tillerson continued to insist they have "firm" confidence Syria's government was responsible for the attack.
US Ambassador Nikki Haley condemned Russia for the veto, insisting they were rejecting the very notion of accountability, and are siding with Assad "against the rest of the world." The US praised China for abstaining on the vote instead of offering their own usual veto.
Russian officials added to their criticism of the effort after the vote, with Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov insisting that issuing a statement condemning someone as guilty before the investigation is "incompatible with legal norms."
The Latest: Russia Vetoes
UN Condemnation of Syria Attack
The Associated Press
BEIRUT (April 12, 2017) -- Russia has vetoed a Western-backed Security Council resolution that would have condemned the reported use of chemical weapons in a town in northern Syria and demanded a speedy investigation.
Wednesday's vote on the resolution drafted by Britain, France and the United States was 10 in favor, Russia and Bolivia against, and China, Kazakhstan and Ethiopia abstaining.
Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told the council before the vote that during talks earlier Wednesday in Moscow Russia asked for an independent international investigation to examine the April 4 attack on Khan Sheikhoun that killed nearly 90 people. He said US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is considering the request.
The final draft resolution included a paragraph that the Russians objected to last week stressing Syria's requirement to provide investigators with flight plans and information about air operations on April 4 when Khan Sheikhoun was attacked, names of helicopter squadron commanders, and immediate access to air bases where they believe an attack may have been launched.
US Officials Can't Explain
Reason for Syria 'Chemical Attack'
'Senior Official' Claims Attack Targeted Rebel 'Support Areas'
Jason Ditz / AntiWar.com
(April 11, 2017) -- While it wouldn't be unusual for Syria to bomb targets belonging to al-Qaeda's Nusra Front in the Idlib Province with airstrikes, a big hole in the US-backed allegations of a "chemical weapons attack" by the Syrian military is that there was no reason for such a strike.
Administration officials are trying to manufacture one, with an unnamed "senior official" today delivering a briefing to the media claiming that the Syrian military was afraid of a rebel offensive in the Hama Province, and launched the attack against the rebels' rear support areas for operational purposes.
This new narrative, that the strike was done for operational reasons,, seemingly contradicts previous claims that Syria attacked civilians with chemical weapons for no reason at all, and when pressed by reporters, the US official was clearly shaken, insisting the attacks were for operational purposes, but not against militarily significant targets, which of course wouldn't make sense.
On top of this, the US narrative's initial premise is faulty, as the Hama offensive had already ground to a halt two weeks prior to the putative Syrian attack, and Syrian forces appeared well on their way to recovering lost territory from the rebels.
Small tit-for-tat offensives and counteroffensives on the frontier between government and rebel forces are common enough at any rate, that the losing a handful of villages in northern Hama would not have sparked such an act of desperation, meaning the US claim is not credible.
If anything, the underlying assumptions make Russia's own narrative of conventional attacks against al-Qaeda's Nusra Front make even more sense, since the US apparently assessed the area targeted as having operational significance to the jihadist rebels.
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