Washington : Turkey said there is no doubt that the regime is responsible!!


Save Face Attack/Zevahiri Kurtarma Saldırısı…

usa1

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Tezkereye gerek yok!

30 Ağustos, 2013 – Bizim açımızdan -ki bu tamamen milli istihbari bilgilerimiz ve kendi milli uzmanlarımızın değerlendirmeleridir- bu konuda atım vasıtaları ve atım mekanlarıyla bölgeler arasında açılar izler açısından bakıldığında şüphe bırakmayacak şekilde rejimin sorumluluğu. Gerek görgü şahitleri, gerekse alandan gelen görüntüler, gerekse oradaki sağlık kurumları temsilcilerinden aldığımız bilgiler çok açık bir şekilde semptomlardan vefat edenlerin hiçbir yara ve kan izi olmadan doğrudan boğulma ve gaz etkisiyle vefat ettiklerini, yaralı olanlarda açık bir kimyasal saldırıya işaret ettiğini ortaya koyuyor. Başkalarının elindeki bulgular da bize ulaşanlar oldu, birçok yeni unsurlar keşfediliyor, bulunuyor. Muhalefet unsurlarının verdiği bilgiler var, onun dışında insani istihbari bilgiler var, hepsi değerlendirilip Suriye’de süre giden bu savaşa artık son verecek uluslararsı bir insiyatifin başlatılması lazım.

Nihayetinde böyle bir vurgu söz konusu. Tamamıyla milli istihbari değerlendirmelerimizdir. Diğer istihbarat birimleriyle yapılan temaslarda da genel olarak bu konuda mutabakat olduğu görülüyor. Elinizde kimyasal silah primitiv bir şekilde olsa bile, eğer onu başka bir bölgeye atacak atım vasıtası yoksa, teknik tabirle “delivery” mekanizmler yoksa bunu kullanma imkanınız yok. Eldeki bütün istihbari bilgiler de muhalefetin böyle bir sofistike imkanın olmadığını açıkça ortaya koyuyor. Bu sofistike imkana alanda birtek rejim sahip.

Bundan sonra uluslararası topluma büyük sorumluluk düşüyor. ”Gerek görgü şahitleri, gerekse alandan gelen görüntüler, gerekse oradaki sağlık kurumları temsilcilerinden aldığımız bilgiler çok açık bir şekilde semptomlardan vefat edenlerin hiçbir yara ve kan izi olmadan doğrudan boğulma ve gaz etkisiyle vefat ettiklerini, yaralı olanlarda açık bir kimyasal saldırıya işaret ettiğini ortaya koyuyor.

Türkiye’yi sanki bir savaş çağrısında bulunuyormuş gibi takdim etmek isteyenler var, ancak bu son derece haksız bir suçlama . Şu anda, aktif olarak Suriye’de şu veye bu tarafı destekleyenler hiç harekete geçmemişken, Türkiye harekete geçti ve diplomasinin bütün imkanlarını kullandı. Türkiye’nin tüm çabalarına rağmen Türkiye’nin güvenliğini de ilgilendiren kardeşçe tavsiyeleri, dinlenmedi.

Önce keskin nişancılarla, daha sonra top ve tank atışlarıyla şehirlere, yerleşim merkezlerine, daha sonra açık bir şekilde hava bombardımanıyla şehirlere ve bu senenin başından itibaren scud füzeleriyle saldırılar yapıldı. Bu, savaşlarda bile sivil alanlara yapılan son 100 yılın belki en kapsamlı saldısıydı. Belki bir devletin kendi halkına dönük yaptığı en ciddi katliamdı. Son olarak da kimyasal silah kullanımı, savaşlarda bile, 1925 yılından bu yana yasaklanmış bir uygulamadır. Yani, iki devlet arasındaki savaşlarda dahi kimyasal silah kullanımı,1925’de yasaklandı ve bu bir savaş suçu olarak ilan edildi. Bir devletin kendi halkına karşı bunu kullanmasını, sanki savaş değilmiş barbarlık değilmiş gibi, tepki verilmesi gereken bişey değilmiş gibi görüp, sanki savaş şimdi başlayacakmış ve Türkiye’de bu savaşa çağrıda bulunuyormuş gibi takdim edenler, gerçekten insanlık vicdanı açısından nasibini almamışlardır.

Türkiye’nin uluslararası topluma yaptığı çağrı bu savaşın, bu katliamın, bu barbarlığın durdurulması için. Türkiye’nin veya herhangi bir tarafın, savaşın parçası olması hedefine yönelik değil.

Saldırının olduğu andan itibaren, uluslararası toplumun ortak mutabakatının, “böyle bir saldırı karşısında uluslararası toplumun uluslararası hukukun gerektirdiği karşılıkları vermesi yönünde” idi. Ancak bugüne kadar da bu yönde değişen bir tutum yok.

Bunun öncelikle BM Güvenlik Konseyi’nde verilcek olmasıydı, hepimiz bunu tercih ederdik, hala da bunu tercih ediyoruz. BM normalarının bu kadar açık bir şekilde ihlal edildiği ikinci bir olay neredeyse yok. Bosna, birçok örnekler veriliyor, buralarda da insanlık hakları ihlali ve katliamlar yaşandı ama kitle imha silahları bağlamında bu derece açık norm ihlali, uluslararası hukuk ihlalinin yaşandığı nadir örnekler var. O zaman tabii hepimizin birinci beklentisi hiçbir şüphe bırakmadan BMGK’nın buna el atması ve çok kararlı bir tutum sergilemeseydi. Malesef aradan bir hafta geçti, 10 gün oldu, BMGK burda daimi üyelerin tutum farklılıkları sebebiyle bir sonuca ulaşamadı.

Suriye’deki kimyasal silah saldırısı konusu, Suriye ile Türkiye arasında bir mesele değil. Türkiye’nin güvenlik kaygıları var, bunun için de her türlü çalışma yapılıyor. Bu konuda taviz veremeyiz ama esas mesele bütün dünyayı etkileyebilecek olan kitle imha silahlarının serbest kullanımı ve müeyyidesinin olmaması gibi bir algının doğması, yaygınlaşmasıdır. O zaman, çok daha büyük facialara sebebiyet verilir.

Bu nedenlerden dolayı gelen tepkiler, iç kamuoylarının tepkileri, ne olursa olsun insanlık vicdanı ve uluslararası toplumun iradesinin bu saldırı karşısında en doğru tepkiyi, en doğru zamanda vererek, bir daha kimsenin böyle bir saldırı yapmaya, böyle bir kitle imha silahı kullanmaya cesaret etmemesi yönünde güçlü bir sinyal verilmesi gerektiriyor.

Bazı olaylar vardır ki ,küçük depremlere benzer, eğer o küçük depremlerde binanızı sağlamlaştırmazsanız, küçük derken bu küçük bir deprem değil, o anlamda söylemiyorum, ama göreceli olarak depremlerde binalarınızı sağlamlaştırmaz, sütunlarını takviye etmezseniz, bir sonraki depremde çok daha büyük hasarlar yaşanır. Malesef 2.5 yıldır Humus’ta, Banyas’ta, Halep’te, Dera’da yaşanan katliamlara cevap vermiş olsaydı uluslararası toplum, bugün o zavallı çocuklar, bebekler, ölmemiş olurdu. Eğer şimdi bu tepki verilmezse, açık bir uluslararası hukuk ihlali karşısında bu tepki verilmezse, dünyanın her yerinde böylesine insanlık dışı silahlara sahip olan ülkeler, bu silahları kullanma konusunda kendilerini daha serbest addederler.

Türkiye’nin hem uluslararası toplum içinde birlikte hareket edebileceği ülkelerle ittifak sistemi içindeki durumunu ele aldık hem de Türkiye’nin ulusal güvenliği bağlamında ele alması gereken ve bütün diğerlerinden çok daha önemli olan, bizim için en asli olan husus, Türkiye’nin ve halkımızın güvenliğidir, bu konuda alınabilecek tedbirleri gözden geçirdik. Kamuoyumuz soğukkanlılık içinde olmalıdır. Daha önce konuları, zorlukları nasıl aşmışsak, bunu da aşarız. Önemli olan dost ve kardeş Suriye halkının huzura ve güvene biran önce ulaşması ve Türkiye’ye dönük güvenlik risklerinin tamamen ortadan kalkacağı bir bölgesel konjonktürün oluşması. Bunun için gece gündüz çalışıyoruz.

Süratle kriz yönetimi şeklinde bir mekanizmanın kurulması bağlamında adımlar atılıyor. Muhtemel gelişmelere hazırlıklı olabilmek için bütün kurumlar Başbakan’ın talimatıyla bilgilendirildi ve gerekli tedbirlerin alınması konusunda detaylara inecek kadar çalışma yapıldı.

Burada iki boyut var, birincisi insan hakları ihlalleri bağlamında ve insanlık suçu sayılan bir kitle imha silahının kullanılmasına tepkisiz kalınması durumunda, tüm insanlığı ilgilendirebilecek riskler var. İkincisi ise doğrudan Türkiye’nin güvenliği ile ilgili. Yani güneyimizde ne olursa olsun bizi ilgilendirir. İster orada artan katliamlar, etnik çatışmalar, mezhep çatışmaları, terör tehdidi, bütün bunlar Türkiye’yi doğrudan birinci derecede ilgilendirir.

Türkiye bu tür gelişmeleri önceden gördüğü, bugünlerin gelebileceğinden korktuğu için Esed’i, etrafındaki katliamcı güruhu ikna etmek için aylarca uğraştı. Uluslararası toplumun birlikte hareket etmesi için de iki yıldır çalıştı. NATO içindeki müttefiklerle değil, Rusya ve İran’la da yoğun temaslar yürütüldü. Geçiş sürecinin işleyebilmesi için birçok formül üretildi ve tüm buralardaki amaç, bugün Suriye’de olanları engellemekti.

Birincisi insanlık vicdanı olarak yüreğimiz yanıyordu, ikincisi Türkiye’ye güvenlik riski gelmesin, riskler minimize edilsin, yok edilsin diye çaba sarf ettik” diyen Davutoğlu, “maalesef gelinen noktada hem Suriye’deki kardeşlerimize dönük zulmün boyutlarının tahammül edilemez ölçülere ulaştığını hem de Türkiye’ye dönük güvenlik risklerinin arttığını.

Şu anda acil bir tezkere ihtiyacı görünmüyor.Birçok spekülasyon yapılıyor ancak Türkiye bir hukuk devletidir, hukuk devleti içinde kararların nasıl alınacağı da bellidir. Bize geçen sene verilen tezkereyle hükümetimiz yetkilendirildi. Hükümetimiz de net talimatlarla Silahlı Kuvvetlerimizi yetkilendirdi. Ortada hukuki anlamda da yetkilendirme anlamında bir boşluk söz konusu değil. Ama bu yetkiyi aşacak veya bu yetki dışında da yetkilendirme gerekirse, o zaman tabi yine hukuk sistemimiz içinde ne gerekiyorsa, gerektiği zaman adımlar atılır. Ama şu anda bu anlamda acil bir ihtiyaç söz konusu değil.

Ahmet Davutoğlu
Dışişleri Bakanı.

Tam metin.

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AKP Orta Doğu ülkelerine ağabeylik yapma oyunundan vazgeçmelidir.

Türkiye Suriye konusunda yalnız kalmıştır. İngiltere’de yapılan oylama bunu bir kez daha göstermiştir. AKP’nin bütün tezleri çökmüştür. Mısır’da batıyı suçlayan AKP, batının Suriye’ye müdahalesi için yalvar yakar bir duruma gelmiştir. Dış politika bu kadar çelişkiyi kaldırmaz. Suriye konusunda atılacak en önemli adım, Türkiye Cumhuriyeti tarihine kara bir leke olarak geçen kökten dinci terör örgütlerine AKP’nin yaptığı silah ve her türlü lojistik desteğin kesilmesidir. Türkiye üzerinden hiçbir terör örgütü mensubunun; ya da silahın Suriye’ye geçmesine asla izin verilmemelidir. İkincisi; AKP Suriye’nin içişlerine karışmayacağını ilan etmelidir. Üçüncüsü; AKP mezhep odaklı dış politika anlayışı terk edilmelidir. Dördüncüsü; AKP Orta Doğu ülkelerine ağabeylik yapma oyunundan vazgeçmelidir. Beşincisi; AKP Türkiye’nin tarihsel ve kurucu dış politika paradigmasına geri dönmelidir. Altıncısı; AKP bütün bölge ülkelerinin egemenlik ilişkilerine saygı duymalıdır. Yedincisi, AKP bölge ülkelerinde rejim değiştirme fantezilerine son vermelidir. Sekizincisi; bölgede demokrasi, insan hak ve özgürlükleri konusunda atılacak her adımda Türkiye bölgenin bütün ülkeleriyle birlikte hareket etmelidir. Dokuzuncusu; AKP hem ülkemiz içinde hem de bölgemizde etnik ve mezhepsel siyaset stratejisinin büyük yıkım ve çatışmalara neden olacağını artık görmelidir. Onuncusu; AKP komşu bir ülkeyi dış müdahaleyle yakıp yıkmanın tarihsel bedellerinin ve yaratacağı tarihsel düşmanlıkların farkına varmalıdır. Daha büyük trajediler yaşanmadan AKP yaptıklarından acilen ders çıkarmalıdır.

Erdoğan Toprak
Genel Başkan Yardımcısı

Tam metin.

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Var olan karara dayanarak Türkiye’nin Suriye’ye bir askeri müdahaleye başvurması hukuki olarak mümkün olmadığı gibi Anayasaya karşı işlenmiş bir suçtur.

Bizim cumhuriyetimizin temelindeki laiklik ilkesinin toplumsal barışımız açısından ne kadar önemli olduğunu komşularımızda yaşanan bu sıkıntılı süreçlerde daha iyi değerlendirebiliyoruz. Suriye’de aynı dine mensup. Hepsi Arap ama İslam dininin iki farklı yorumundan kaynaklanan kavgalar yaşanıyor. Türkiyemize de baktığımızda çok ciddi bir etnik tablomuz var. 15, 16 etnik unsur yaşıyor. Hatta farklı dinler de var. Etnik yapısı değişik olan ülkemizde eğer biz bugün barış içinde yaşayabiliyorsak bunu cumhuriyetin temeline yerleştirilmiş olan laiklik ilkesine borçluyuz

Kimyasal silah kullanıldığı iddiasından sonra Amerika, İngiltere ve Fransa bu konuda yaptırım uygulama anlayışı içerisine girdi. Parti olarak Suriye’ye yapılacak olan herhangi bir askeri operasyonun hukuki dayanağı olması gerektiği inancı içerisindeyiz. Birleşmiş Milletlerden bu müdahaleye yetki veren bir kararın çıkarılması gerekmektedir. Şu ana kadar da Birleşmiş Milletlerden bu doğrultuda bir karar çıkmış değildir. Birleşmiş Milletlerin kararı olmaksızın bir birlik kurarak buraya müdahale edilmeye çalışılmaktadır. Türkiye’nin müdahaleye iştirak edebilmesi için TBMM’yi toplayarak bir karar alması gerekmektedir.

Var olan karara dayanarak Türkiye’nin Suriye’ye bir askeri müdahaleye başvurması hukuki olarak mümkün değildir. Anayasaya karşı işlenmiş bir suç niteliği taşır. Fiili müdahale yapacak ülkeler müdahaleden sonra kendi ülkelerine çekip gidecektir ama Türkiye ebediyete kadar Suriye’yle yan yana yaşamak mecburiyetinde olan bir ülkedir.

Adnan Keskin
Genel Başkan Yardımcısı

Tam metin.

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Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons

August 30, 2013 – President Obama has spent many days now consulting with Congress and talking with leaders around the world about the situation in Syria. And last night, the President asked all of us on his national security team to consult with the leaders of Congress as well, including the leadership of the Congressional national security committees. And he asked us to consult about what we know regarding the horrific chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs last week. I will tell you that as someone who has spent nearly three decades in the United States Congress, I know that that consultation is the right way for a president to approach a decision of when and how and if to use military force. And it’s important to ask the tough questions and get the tough answers before taking action, not just afterwards.

And I believe, as President Obama does, that it is also important to discuss this directly with the American people. That’s our responsibility, to talk with the citizens who have entrusted all of us in the Administration and the Congress with the responsibility for their security. That’s why this morning’s release of our government’s unclassified estimate of what took place in Syria is so important. Its findings are as clear as they are compelling. I’m not asking you to take my word for it. Read for yourself, everyone, those listening. All of you, read for yourselves the evidence from thousands of sources, evidence that is already publicly available, and read for yourselves the verdict reached by our intelligence community about the chemical weapons attack the Assad regime inflicted on the opposition and on opposition-controlled or contested neighborhoods in the Damascus suburbs on the early morning of August 21st.

Our intelligence community has carefully reviewed and re-reviewed information regarding this attack, and I will tell you it has done so more than mindful of the Iraq experience. We will not repeat that moment. Accordingly, we have taken unprecedented steps to declassify and make facts available to people who can judge for themselves. But still, in order to protect sources and methods, some of what we know will only be released to members of Congress, the representatives of the American people. That means that some things we do know we can’t talk about publicly.

So what do we really know that we can talk about? Well, we know that the Assad regime has the largest chemical weapons program in the entire Middle East. We know that the regime has used those weapons multiple times this year and has used them on a smaller scale, but still it has used them against its own people, including not very far from where last Wednesday’s attack happened. We know that the regime was specifically determined to rid the Damascus suburbs of the opposition, and it was frustrated that it hadn’t succeeded in doing so.

We know that for three days before the attack the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons personnel were on the ground in the area making preparations. And we know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons. We know that these were specific instructions. We know where the rockets were launched from and at what time. 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.

And we know, as does the world, that just 90 minutes later all hell broke loose in the social media. With our own eyes we have seen the thousands of reports from 11 separate sites in the Damascus suburbs. All of them show and report victims with breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness and death.

And we know it was ordinary Syrian citizens who reported all of these horrors. And just as important, we know what the doctors and the nurses who treated them didn’t report – not a scratch, not a shrapnel wound, not a cut, not a gunshot wound. We saw rows of dead lined up in burial shrouds, the white linen unstained by a single drop of blood. Instead of being tucked safely in their beds at home, we saw rows of children lying side by side sprawled on a hospital floor, all of them dead from Assad’s gas and surrounded by parents and grandparents who had suffered the same fate.

The United States Government now knows that at least 1,429 Syrians were killed in this attack, including at least 426 children. Even the first responders, the doctors, nurses, and medics who tried to save them, they became victims themselves. We saw them gasping for air, terrified that their own lives were in danger.

This is the indiscriminate, inconceivable horror of chemical weapons. This is what Assad did to his own people.

We also know many disturbing details about the aftermath. We know that a senior regime official who knew about the attack confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime, reviewed the impact, and actually was afraid that they would be discovered. We know this.

And we know what they did next. I personally called the Foreign Minister of Syria and I said to him, “If, as you say, your nation has nothing to hide, then let the United Nations in immediately and give the inspectors the unfettered access so they have the opportunity to tell your story.” Instead, for four days they shelled the neighborhood in order to destroy evidence, bombarding block after block at a rate four times higher than they had over the previous 10 days. And when the UN inspectors finally gained access, that access, as we now know, was restricted and controlled.

In all of these things that I have listed, in all of these things that we know, all of them, the American intelligence community has high confidence, high confidence. This is common sense. This is evidence. These are facts.

So the primary question is really no longer: What do we know? The question is: What are we – we collectively – what are we in the world going to do about it?

As previous storms in history have gathered, when unspeakable crimes were within our power to stop them, we have been warned against the temptations of looking the other way. History is full of leaders who have warned against inaction, indifference, and especially against silence when it mattered most. Our choices then in history had great consequences and our choice today has great consequences. It matters that nearly a hundred years ago, in direct response to the utter horror and inhumanity of World War I, that the civilized world agreed that chemical weapons should never be used again.

That was the world’s resolve then, and that began nearly a century of effort to create a clear redline for the international community. It matters today that we are working as an international community to rid the world of the worst weapons. That’s why we signed agreements like the START Treaty, the New START Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, which more than 180 countries, including Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon, have signed on to.

It matters to our security and the security of our allies. It matters to Israel. It matters to our close friends Jordan, Turkey, and Lebanon – all of whom live just a stiff breeze away from Damascus. It matters to all of them where the Syrian chemical weapons are. And if unchecked, they can cause even greater death and destruction to those friends. And it matters deeply to the credibility and the future interests of the United States of America and our allies.

It matters because a lot of other countries, whose polices challenges these international norms, are watching. They are watching. They want to see whether the United States and our friends mean what we say. It is directly related to our credibility and whether countries still believe the United States when it says something. They are watching to see if Syria can get away with it, because then maybe they too can put the world at greater risk.

And make no mistake, in an increasingly complicated world of sectarian and religious extremist violence, what we choose to do or not do matters in real ways to our own security. Some cite the risk of doing things, but we need to ask, what is the risk of doing nothing?

It matters because if we choose to live in a world where a thug and a murderer like Bashar al-Assad can gas thousands of his own people with impunity, even after the United States and our allies said no, and then the world does nothing about it, there will be no end to the test of our resolve and the dangers that will flow from those others who believe that they can do as they will.

This matters also beyond the limits of Syria’s borders. It is about whether Iran, which itself has been a victim of chemical weapons attacks, will now feel emboldened, in the absence of action, to obtain nuclear weapons. It is about Hezbollah, and North Korea, and every other terrorist group or dictator that might ever again contemplate the use of weapons of mass destruction. Will they remember that the Assad regime was stopped from those weapons’ current or future use, or will they remember that the world stood aside and created impunity?

So our concern is not just about some far off land oceans away. That’s not what this is about. Our concern with the cause of the defenseless people of Syria is about choices that will directly affect our role in the world and our interests in the world. It is also profoundly about who we are. We are the United States of America. We are the country that has tried, not always successfully, but always tried to honor a set of universal values around which we have organized our lives and our aspirations. This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this crime against the most fundamental principles of international community, against the norm of the international community, this matters to us. And it matters to who we are. And it matters to leadership and to our credibility in the world. My friends, it matters here if nothing is done. It matters if the world speaks out in condemnation and then nothing happens.

America should feel confident and gratified that we are not alone in our condemnation, and we are not alone in our will to do something about it and to act. The world is speaking out, and many friends stand ready to respond. The Arab League pledged, quote, “to hold the Syrian regime fully responsible for this crime.” The Organization for Islamic Cooperation condemned the regime and said we needed, quote, “to hold the Syrian Government legally and morally accountable for this heinous crime.” Turkey said there is no doubt that the regime is responsible. Our oldest ally, the French, said the regime, quote, “committed this vile action, and it is an outrage to use weapons that the community has banned for the last 90 years in all international conventions.” The Australian Prime Minister said he didn’t want history to record that we were, quote, “a party to turning such a blind eye.”

So now that we know what we know, the question we must all be asking is: What will we do? Let me emphasize – President Obama, we in the United States, we believe in the United Nations. And we have great respect for the brave inspectors who endured regime gunfire and obstructions to their investigation. But as Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary General, has said again and again, the UN investigation will not affirm who used these chemical weapons.

That is not the mandate of the UN investigation. They will only affirm whether such weapons were used. By the definition of their own mandate, the UN can’t tell us anything that we haven’t shared with you this afternoon or that we don’t already know. And because of the guaranteed Russian obstructionism of any action through the UN Security Council, the UN cannot galvanize the world to act as it should.

So let me be clear. We will continue talking to the Congress, talking to our allies, and most importantly, talking to the American people. President Obama will ensure that the United States of America makes our own decisions on our own timelines based on our values and our interests.

Now, we know that after a decade of conflict, the American people are tired of war. Believe me, I am, too. But fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility. Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about. And history would judge us all extraordinarily harshly if we turned a blind eye to a dictator’s wanton use of weapons of mass destruction against all warnings, against all common understanding of decency. These things we do know.

We also know that we have a President who does what he says that he will do. And he has said very clearly that whatever decision he makes in Syria, it will bear no resemblance to Afghanistan, Iraq, or even Libya. It will not involve any boots on the ground. It will not be open-ended. And it will not assume responsibility for a civil war that is already well underway. The President has been clear: Any action that he might decide to take will be a limited and tailored response to ensure that a despot’s brutal and flagrant use of chemical weapons is held accountable. And ultimately, ultimately, we are committed – we remain committed, we believe it’s the primary objective – is to have a diplomatic process that can resolve this through negotiation, because we know there is no ultimate military solution. It has to be political. It has to happen at the negotiating table, and we are deeply committed to getting there.

So that is what we know. That’s what the leaders of Congress now know. And that’s what the American people need to know. And that is at the core of the decisions that must now be made for the security of our country and for the promise of a planet where the world’s most heinous weapons must never again be used against the world’s most vulnerable people.

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC

Source.

**

Government Assessment of the Syrian Government’s Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21, 2013

The United States Government assesses with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus suburbs on August 21, 2013. We further assess that the regime used a nerve agent in the attack. These all-source assessments are based on human, signals, and geospatial intelligence as well as a significant body of open source reporting.Our classified assessments have been shared with the U.S. Congress and key international partners. To protect sources and methods, we cannot publicly release all available intelligence – but what follows is an unclassified summary of the U.S. Intelligence Community’s analysis of what took place.

Syrian Government Use of Chemical Weapons on August 21

A large body of independent sources indicates that a chemical weapons attack took place in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. In addition to U.S. intelligence information, there are accounts from international and Syrian medical personnel; videos; witness accounts; thousands of social media reports from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area; journalist accounts; and reports from highly credible nongovernmental organizations.
A preliminary U.S. government assessment determined that 1,429 people were killed in the chemical weapons attack, including at least 426 children, though this assessment will certainly evolve as we obtain more information.

We assess with high confidence that the Syrian government carried out the chemical weapons attack against opposition elements in the Damascus suburbs on August 21. We assess that the scenario in which the opposition executed the attack on August 21 is highly unlikely. The body of information used to make this assessment includes intelligence pertaining to the regime’s preparations for this attack and its means of delivery, multiple streams of intelligence about the attack itself and its effect, our post-attack observations, and the differences between the capabilities of the regime and the opposition. Our high confidence assessment is the strongest position that the U.S. Intelligence Community can take short of confirmation. We will continue to seek additional information to close gaps in our understanding of what took place.

Background:

The Syrian regime maintains a stockpile of numerous chemical agents, including mustard, sarin, and VX and has thousands of munitions that can be used to deliver chemical warfare agents.

Syrian President Bashar al-Asad is the ultimate decision maker for the chemical weapons program and members of the program are carefully vetted to ensure security and loyalty. The Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) – which is subordinate to the Syrian Ministry of Defense – manages Syria’s chemical weapons program.

We assess with high confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year, including in the Damascus suburbs. This assessment is based on multiple streams of information including reporting of Syrian officials planning and executing chemical weapons attacks and laboratory analysis of physiological samples obtained from a number of individuals, which revealed exposure to sarin. We assess that the opposition has not used chemical weapons.

The Syrian regime has the types of munitions that we assess were used to carry out the attack on August 21, and has the ability to strike simultaneously in multiple locations. We have seen no indication that the opposition has carried out a large-scale, coordinated rocket and artillery attack like the one that occurred on August 21.

We assess that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons over the last year primarily to gain the upper hand or break a stalemate in areas where it has struggled to seize and hold strategically valuable territory. In this regard, we continue to judge that the Syrian regime views chemical weapons as one of many tools in its arsenal, including air power and ballistic missiles, which they indiscriminately use against the opposition.

The Syrian regime has initiated an effort to rid the Damascus suburbs of opposition forces using the area as a base to stage attacks against regime targets in the capital. The regime has failed to clear dozens of Damascus neighborhoods of opposition elements, including neighborhoods targeted on August 21, despite employing nearly all of its conventional weapons systems. We assess that the regime’s frustration with its inability to secure large portions of Damascus may have contributed to its decision to use chemical weapons on August 21.

Preparation:

We have intelligence that leads us to assess that Syrian chemical weapons personnel – including personnel assessed to be associated with the SSRC – were preparing chemical munitions prior to the attack. In the three days prior to the attack, we collected streams of human, signals and geospatial intelligence that reveal regime activities that we assess were associated with preparations for a chemical weapons attack.

Syrian chemical weapons personnel were operating in the Damascus suburb of ‘Adra from Sunday, August 18 until early in the morning on Wednesday, August 21 near an area that the regime uses to mix chemical weapons, including sarin. On August 21, a Syrian regime element prepared for a chemical weapons attack in the Damascus area, including through the utilization of gas masks. Our intelligence sources in the Damascus area did not detect any indications in the days prior to the attack that opposition affiliates were planning to use chemical weapons.

The Attack:

Multiple streams of intelligence indicate that the regime executed a rocket and artillery attack against the Damascus suburbs in the early hours of August 21. Satellite detections corroborate that attacks from a regime-controlled area struck neighborhoods where the chemical attacks reportedly occurred – including Kafr Batna, Jawbar, ‘Ayn Tarma, Darayya, and Mu’addamiyah. This includes the detection of rocket launches from regime controlled territory early in the morning, approximately 90 minutes before the first report of a chemical attack appeared in social media. The lack of flight activity or missile launches also leads us to conclude that the regime used rockets in the attack.

Local social media reports of a chemical attack in the Damascus suburbs began at 2:30 a.m. local time on August 21. Within the next four hours there were thousands of social media reports on this attack from at least 12 different locations in the Damascus area. Multiple accounts described chemical-filled rockets impacting opposition-controlled areas.

Three hospitals in the Damascus area received approximately 3,600 patients displaying symptoms consistent with nerve agent exposure in less than three hours on the morning of August 21, according to a highly credible international humanitarian organization. The reported symptoms, and the epidemiological pattern of events – characterized by the massive influx of patients in a short period of time, the origin of the patients, and the contamination of medical and first aid workers – were consistent with mass exposure to a nerve agent. We also received reports from international and Syrian medical personnel on the ground.

We have identified one hundred videos attributed to the attack, many of which show large numbers of bodies exhibiting physical signs consistent with, but not unique to, nerve agent exposure. The reported symptoms of victims included unconsciousness, foaming from the nose and mouth, constricted pupils, rapid heartbeat, and difficulty breathing. Several of the videos show what appear to be numerous fatalities with no visible injuries, which is consistent with death from chemical weapons, and inconsistent with death from small-arms, high-explosive munitions or blister agents. At least 12 locations are portrayed in the publicly available videos, and a sampling of those videos confirmed that some were shot at the general times and locations described in the footage.
We assess the Syrian opposition does not have the capability to fabricate all of the videos, physical symptoms verified by medical personnel and NGOs, and other information associated with this chemical attack.

We have a body of information, including past Syrian practice, that leads us to conclude that regime officials were witting of and directed the attack on August 21. We intercepted communications involving a senior official intimately familiar with the offensive who confirmed that chemical weapons were used by the regime on August 21 and was concerned with the U.N. inspectors obtaining evidence. On the afternoon of August 21, we have intelligence that Syrian chemical weapons personnel were directed to cease operations. At the same time, the regime intensified the artillery barrage targeting many of the neighborhoods where chemical attacks occurred. In the 24 hour period after the attack, we detected indications of artillery and rocket fire at a rate approximately four times higher than the ten preceding days. We continued to see indications of sustained shelling in the neighborhoods up until the morning of August 26.

To conclude, there is a substantial body of information that implicates the Syrian government’s responsibility in the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21.As indicated, there is additional intelligence that remains classified because of sources and methods concerns that is being provided to Congress and international partners.

Source.

**

I would note that the Syrian conflict has already had profound negative conflict — consequences to other countries in the region. I would note also that when we talk about the instability in the region and the volatility in the region that Syria borders an ally — a NATO ally of the United States in Turkey, and a close friend and partner of the United States in Jordan. And both of those nations have felt significant consequences as a result of this conflict and have a great deal at stake when we talk about the use and proliferation of chemical weapons.

Josh Earnest, 8/29/2013

Full transcript.

Related:

    **

    Syria and the Limits of Comparison

    By Robert D. Kaplan – Because so many war plans simply do not survive the reality of war itself, each war is a unique universe unto its own and thus comparisons with previous wars, while useful, may also prove illusory. One of the many wrong assumptions about the Second Gulf War before it started was that it would somehow be like the First Gulf War, in which the pessimists had been humiliated by the ease of the victory. Indeed, the Second Gulf War unfolded in vastly different ways, this time proving the pessimists right. That is why the recent media refrain comparing a military operation in Syria with the one in Kosovo in 1999 worries me. There are profound differences.

    Syria has a population ten times the size of Kosovo’s in 1999. Because everything in Syria is on a much vaster scale, deciding the outcome by military means could be that much harder.

    Kosovo sustained violence and harsh repression at the hands of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, which was met with a low-intensity separatist campaign by the Kosovo Liberation Army. Violence was widespread but not nearly on the scale of Syria’s. Syria is in the midst of a full-fledged civil war. The toppling of Milosevic, moreover, carried much less risk of ever-expanding anarchy than does the toppling of Syrian ruler Bashar al Assad.

    Kosovo was more or less contained within the southern Balkans, with relatively limited chance for a spillover — as it turned out — into neighboring countries and territories. Full-scale sectarian anarchy in Syria threatens to destabilize a wider region.

    The Kosovo Liberation Army may have been a nasty bunch by some accounts, with criminal elements. But it was not a threat to the United States like the transnational jihadists currently operating in Syria. For President Bill Clinton to risk bringing to power the Kosovo Liberation Army was far less of a concern than President Barack Obama possibly helping to midwife to power a Sunni jihadist regime.

    Kosovo did not have a complex of chemical weapons facilities scattered throughout its territory as Syria does, with all the military and logistical headaches of trying to neutralize them.

    The Kosovo war campaign did not have to countenance a strong and feisty Russia, which at the time was reeling from Boris Yeltsin’s incompetent, anarchic rule. Vladimir Putin, who has significant equities in al Assad’s Syria, may do everything in his power to undermine a U.S. attack. Though, it must be said, Putin’s options should Obama opt for a significant military campaign are limited within Syria itself. But Putin can move closer to Iran by leaving the sanctions regime, and ratchet-up Russia’s anti-American diplomacy worldwide more effectively than Yeltsin ever wanted to, or was capable of.

    The Kosovo war did not engage Iran as this war must. For all of the missiles that America can fire, it does not have operatives on the ground like Iran has. Neither will the United States necessarily have the patience and fortitude to prosecute a lengthy and covert ground-level operation as Iran might for years to come, and already has. A weakened or toppled al Assad is bad for Iran, surely, but it does not altogether signal that America will therefore receive a good result from this war. A wounded Iran might race even faster toward a nuclear option. It is a calculated risk.

    Full analysis.

    **

    History Teaches Profound Skepticism

    by: MISHA GLENNY – AUGUST 30, 2013 : Even the most serious situations have aspects that verge on the absurd.

    This week, as the United States was considering military strikes against Syria in response to the chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb, it was the know-all attitude of pundits across the world that provided this element.

    They expressed three basic positions, each with various justifications:


    a) Get in there and pummel Assad;
    b) Limited, clearly-defined strikes but please DO be careful;
    c) Any intervention is sheer madness.

    Option B includes endless caveats and hand-wringing, but Options A and C are usually articulated with adamant resolve. That, of course, is the nature of the beast. In these situations, pundits and commentators are under enormous pressure to have a clear commitment.

    Which is why I enjoyed one of Professor Dan Drezner’s tweets so much this week. The Fletcher School’s prolific blogger confessed he “does not have a firm opinion on what to do in Syria.” He also added the slightly self-deprecatory hashtag #badpundit.

    Perhaps it is advancing years that lead one to become indecisive and a #badpundit. But it could also be that in the golden post-Cold War age, we have witnessed so many interventions that we can now say with some confidence that their outcome does not often bear any relation to their intended aims.

    Take, for example, the intervention in Afghanistan in 2001, which was mainly launched in response to 9/11. Tony Blair, British prime minister at the time, also argued forcefully for sending in troops to rid the world of the scourge of heroin.

    What happened was the opposite. In effect, overproduction

    Full analysis.

    **

    The Subterfuge of Syrian Chemical Weapons

    By Nicola Nasser – The U.S. – led threats of an imminent military action was the only option left for the western backers of the rebels in Syria ; their declared goal is to stem the accelerating successes of the SAA and to return the balance of power to the status quo ante.

    When the 18th Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin E. Dempsey, before the reportedly chemical attack last week, admitted that the Syrian army was “gaining momentum,” he did not “think it’ll be sustainable,” not because he was drawing on the facts on the ground, but most likely because he was privy to what was in store with his co- decision makers in Washington.

    Maintaining a “balance of power” on the ground is a U.S. precondition to engage in and allow negotiations to solve the Syrian conflict peacefully. The U.S. cannot co – host with Russia the repeatedly postponed Geneva – 2 peace conference on Syria unless the military status quo on the ground is deprived of the gains won by the SAA.

    Therefore, the U.S. is impatient to give “enough time” to the UN investigators to finish their mission with conclusive or inconclusive evidence, as requested by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki – moon on Wednesday. The UN envoy for Syria , al-Akhdar al-Ibrahimi, on the same day said that the military solution of the conflict is “impossible,” but his appeal for a peaceful solution fell on deaf ears in Washington , where plans are being worked out by leaps and bounds for an imminent military strike.
    Such a strike would only exacerbate the conflict, which al-Ibrahimi on August 23 said it “is undoubtedly today the biggest threat to peace and security in the world.”

    Would Obama decide on military action to take place while the UN investigators are still in Syria ? The U.S. disrespect of the UN has several precedents to make the answer in the positive a realistic probability.

    Time will tell however, some say within days, but if it takes place it will be an insult to the United Nations and the world community that will further hurt the international credibility of the United States, which is now pressured into military action as a “face saving move” presumably to save the credibility of its leader who has drawn publicly a “red line” on the use of chemical weapons in Syria at least five times during the last year.

    Obama Gives in

    Obama, the former professor of constitutional law, who as recently as August 22 warned in a CNN interview that “we have to take into account considerations” like a “U.N. mandate” supported by “international law” and “clear evidence,” seems ready now to strike without any respect to the three factors, which they only can give legitimacy to any U.S. – led strike against Syria.

    The UN mandate and legitimacy cannot be provided by a decision taken by the NATO, which is led by the U.S. A selective “responsibility to protect” pretext for a unilateral U.S. – led intervention militarily cannot replace the UN charter and international law. A fig leaf political approval of an attack on Syria from the Arab League, which is now no more than a U.S. rubber stamp, cannot provide Obama with any credible “Arab” justification for a war on Syria ; similar approvals in Libya and Iraq were counterproductive examples. Obama cannot draw on artificial legitimacy to justify what will be no more than a flagrant violation of international law and UN charter to cover up what will be merely a bare – to- all – to – see aggression.

    Moreover, Obama seems even ready to bypass a U.S. constitutional obligation to consult with and get the consent of the Congress, now in a month – long recess until September 9.

    Full analysis.

    More:

    **

    Bracing for Impact in Syria

    by Paul Salem – After two years of virtual inaction on Syria, the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama appears on the verge of launching a direct military strike on key Syrian military sites following a chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime. The imminent and much-discussed strike should deter Syria from repeat use of chemical weapons but is unlikely to be a game changer in the course of the Syrian conflict.

    The U.S. administration has said that the attack would be a response to the use of chemical weapons; regime change would not be the aim. Obama feels the need to act to protect the global nonproliferation regime and prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction, but he does not want to get dragged into the long Syrian conflict. The exceptionally tough language that has come from high administration officials might provide a way for Obama to amplify the attack’s importance, get it done quickly, and then put it behind him.

    The attack would not tie in directly to Washington’s longer-term Syrian strategy to strengthen the moderate elements in the Syrian opposition and, along with Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan, Turkey, and others, to train and strengthen the rebel Free Syrian Army. That process might take many months or years to bear fruit. The strike might weaken the regime somewhat, but is unlikely to dramatically alter the balance of power.

    Meanwhile, the rebel-held areas in Syria are dominated by radical Islamist forces that the United States and Syria’s neighbors Israel, Jordan, and Turkey do not favor. Some key U.S. allies—particularly Israel and Jordan—have serious fears (…)

    Full analysis.

    **

    The Limitations of Limited War in Syria

    By Mark R. Jacobson – There is no doubt that Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons last week crossed all 50 shades of the “red line.” While prudence dictated restraint this past June, the repeated violation of international norms now may require a military response. The use of chemical weapons is one of the most insidious acts that can be undertaken in war and Secretary of State John Kerry has made clear that the Obama administration would hold Assad accountable for an inexcusable “moral obscenity” that “should shock the conscience of the world.” The international community must respond — and likely will respond — with overt military force against Damascus. But limited war, whether air strikes or something else, will bring about its own set of challenges.

    As difficult a decision as it will be for Obama to raise the stakes with a military response, the real challenge may be more political than military. Pundits and some in the U.S. Congress have called for taking out Syrian air assets and creating humanitarian corridors, believing that this will magically solve the country’s broader problems. Likewise, the comparisons being made to Libya and Kosovo are misleading and misrepresent the political commitment required to ensure the success of these military actions.

    Indeed, the White House faces a much more difficult task in seeking to prevent Assad’s repeated use of chemical weapons. This is not about regime change but about behavioral change — deterring or preventing the use of chemical weapons by the Assad regime — whatever the rationale for doing so. The operational challenge is to ensure that strikes are significant enough to destroy Assad’s ability to use chemical weapons without backing him into a corner where he feels he has no choice but to use them.

    There are a few ways to cope with these challenges. First, the United States and its allies must be prepared to maintain political resolve beyond the immediate strikes. Deterring and denying the use of chemical weapons will not be accomplished with one sortie, but may require retaining a military option while continuing to arm selected opposition groups and push Assad to the bargaining table. Second, the United States and its allies must keep the gap between expectation and reality to a minimum. For the Syrians being killed, this conflict is also one for survival, and military strikes may falsely raise hopes for imminent regime change. Some will continue to blame Western leaders for not doing enough or blame them if Assad responds with even deadlier force against his own people.

    Third, while the United States should act alone if it must, a strong coalition remains the preferred option. If NATO takes action as an alliance, it will have to be more than a coalition of the willing. The Alliance must send a unified message that it stands together. More importantly, the Arab League must reconsider its objections to the use of force to prevent such atrocities and, in the event of military action, should take part in operations with Western forces. Finally, the Arab League should step up pressure on Russia and China to provide political support for the operations or get out of the way. In the end, however, Vladimir Putin’s intransigence is an insufficient reason to keep from responding to such reprehensible crimes.

    Moreover, no matter how well-planned the strikes are, even the best plans are unlikely to survive first contact with the enemy. There is no guarantee that anything beyond static targets can be completely destroyed. Likewise, it is almost completely certain that limited strikes will not destroy Assad’s ability to continue to murder his own people. Without a major military commitment — one that potentially includes ground forces — Assad will still retain the capability to terrorize population centers in Homs, Aleppo, and Damascus. Unfortunately, even if the United States and NATO desire just a limited war, it is already a total war for Assad, as he remains intent on personal and regime survival.

    While a failure to address these issues should not necessarily stop the international community or a small coalition from acting, these considerations should guide leaders as they consider military options. A military response, if and when it happens, is but one limited engagement in the long-term effort at ending the war in Syria. Just as importantly, there must be realistic goals that are clearly articulated to the public and to the Syrian people. Only in the best of circumstances can limited war result in a quick political solution — and even the limited goal of deterring Assad’s continued chemical weapons may prove a hard proposition. For the Syrian people, for our own national interest, and for the betterment of the international community, it is likely time to take that risk.

    Read more.

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