“Experts begin destroying Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal”


NBC NEWS

By Becky Bratu, Staff Writer, NBC News

Khaled Al-Hariri / Reuters U.N. vehicles transporting a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) return to their hotel in Damascus on Oct. 6.

Khaled Al-Hariri / Reuters
U.N. vehicles transporting a team of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) return to their hotel in Damascus on Oct. 6.

A team of international experts began the process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons on Sunday, according to the United Nations.

The group consists of international inspectors from the Netherlands-based watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons along with a U.N. team.

Under their supervision, “Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items,” said Eri Kaneko, associate spokeswoman for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon‘s office.

“This included missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment. The process will continue in the coming days,” she added.

The disarmament team arrived in Damascus on Tuesday.

Their mission follows a deadly chemical attack on Aug. 21 aimed at Damascus suburbs under the control of rebel fighters.

While the United States, its allies and the opposition blame the regime of the embattled President Bashar Assad for the attack that killed hundreds, the Syrian government has blamed the rebels.

The attack also prompted the Obama administration to threaten the Syrian regime with military strikes, which set off weeks of diplomatic negotiations that ended with a U.N. resolution on Sept. 27.

More than 100,000 have died since the conflict in Syria began in 2011 with demonstrations that have since degenerated into a bloody civil war.

Related:

[FULL QUOTE]

“Understanding Syria’s Assad family”


THE ASSAD FAMILY

`

President Hafez al-Asad with his family in the...

President Hafez al-Asad with his family in the early 1970s. From left to right: Bashar, Maher, Mrs Anisa Makhlouf (the then new First Lady of Syria), Majd, Bushra, and Basil. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

`

Inside Bashar al-Assad’s family circle

More…

“Does Obama want to attack Syria or not?”


THE WASHINGTON POST

By Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer

 

The Obama administration keeps undermining its own case for a punitive strike in Syria. If the president wants permission from Congress and support from the American people, he and his aides had better get their story straight.

The “messaging,” to use an unfortunate Washington term, has been confusing, contradictory and halfhearted. The nation simply will not approve going to war if its leaders cannot coherently explain what they want to do, how they plan to do it and why.

Secretary of State John Kerry threw mud into turbid waters Monday when he said the attack would be an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” This punch line came at the end of a string of similar assurances: no “troops on the ground,” nothing “prolonged,” merely a “very targeted, short-term” affair.

But if the attack is designed to be so limited, why bother? Why not just send a special envoy to give Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad a stern talking-to, followed perhaps by a reassuring hug?

FULL  ARTICLE

 

“ALL IN”‘s CHRIS HAYES INTERVIEWS SECRETARY OF STATE, JOHN KERRY


NBC NEWS

CHRIS HAYES, HOST:  Mr. Secretary, thank you so much for making the time today.

I really appreciate it.

JOHN KERRY, SECRETARY OF STATE:  I’m very happy to be with you.

HAYES:  There’s a — a pretty shocking video by “The New York Times” posted today.  It’s Syrian rebels executing captured Assad soldiers, a gunshot to the back of the head, naked.

If the U.S. attacks Syria, do those men in those videos become, by definition, our allies?

KERRY:  No.  In fact, I believe that those men in those videos are disadvantaged by an American response to the chemical weapons use because it, in fact, empowers the moderate opposition.

We all know there are about 11 really bad opposition groups — so-called opposition.  They’re not — they’re fighting Assad.  They are not part of the opposition that is being supported by our friends and ourselves.  That is a moderate opposition.  They condemn what has happened today and they will — they are and we are busy separating the support we’re getting from any possibility of that support going to these guys.

FULL  ARTICLE

More…

CHRIS HAYES’ TAKE ON SYRIAN CRISIS


`

WHAT’S YOUR OPINION?

More…

CHEMICAL WEAPONS – SYRIA


`

“Waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Kerry accuses Syria of using chemical agents; US preparing to release evidence” 1


NBC NEWS

By Catherine Chomiak and M. Alex Johnson, NBC News

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday accused Syria of using chemical weapons against its people, and U.S. officials told NBC News that they would release intelligence evidence to prepare the public for a possible military response.

President Barack Obama hasn’t made any decision on whether wage strikes against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Monday. But other U.S. officials told NBC News that the administration could begin laying the groundwork by disclosing the evidence as early as Tuesday.

The officials said an attack isn’t imminent, because it will take time to make all the information public, and preparations must be coordinated with allies including Britain, France and Turkey. The U.S. is also unlikely to attack while a U.N. weapons team remains in Syria — and it isn’t scheduled to leave until Sunday.

The officials reiterated that any military action would be limited and not targeted at Assad because its goal would be to respond to the use of chemical weapons. Targets would be command and control bunkers, airfields and artillery.

FULL  ARTICLE

More…

Remember Vietnam? Now, Syria. . . The Slippery Slope Begins


`

====\      /====

More…

“U.S.: Syria used chemical weapons, crossing ‘red line”


CBS NEWS

By STEVE CHAGGARIS, STEPHANIE CONDON

`

The Obama administration has concluded that Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s government used chemical weapons against the rebels seeking to overthrow him and, in a major policy shift, President Obama has decided to supply military support to the rebels, the White House announced Thursday.

“The president has made a decision about providing more support to the opposition that will involve providing direct support to the [Supreme Military Council]. That includes military support,” Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication Ben Rhodes told reporters.

President Obama has repeatedly said that the use of chemical weapons is a “red line” that, if crossed, would be a “game changer” for more U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.

“The President has been clear that the use of chemical weapons – or the transfer of chemical weapons to terrorist groups – is a red line for the United States,” said Rhodes in a separate written statement.

“The President has said that the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus, and it has,” he continued.

In terms of further response, Rhodes said, “we will make decisions on our own timeline” and that Congress and the international community would be consulted.  Mr. Obama is heading to Northern Ireland Sunday for a meeting of the G8 group of nations; Rhodes indicated the president will consult with leaders of those countries.

“Any future action we take will be consistent with our national interest, and must advance our objectives, which include achieving a negotiated political settlement to establish an authority that can provide basic stability and administer state institutions; protecting the rights of all Syrians; securing unconventional and advanced conventional weapons; and countering terrorist activity,” Rhodes said.

To date, the U.S. policy on Syria has primarily focused on offering the rebels nonlethal assistance and humanitarian aid.

FULL  ARTICLE

More…