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WASHINGTON, August 29 (RIA Novosti) – An urgent meeting of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – reportedly called by Russia – ended in less than an hour on Thursday without any indication of progress or agreement on the crisis in Syria following last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack, US media reported.
It was the second time in two days that the five permanent Security Council members – the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China – came out of a meeting with no apparent progress.
Russia, which on Wednesday blocked a British resolution seeking the authorization of military force, says there is no evidence that the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack. The US and its allies say they are convinced that the Assad regime was behind the attack.
And in a stunning defeat for British Prime Minister David Cameron, the British parliament late Thursday voted against endorsing military action against Syria.
The White House said Thursday’s Security Council permanent member meeting was the latest effort by Moscow to prevent the UN from holding Syria accountable for the alleged use of chemical weapons near Damascus on Aug. 21. The Syrian government has denied using chemical agents.
The United States believes “strongly” in the UN process, but, “What we’ve seen at the UN is a repeated willingness on the part of the Russians to block action… They’ve done it three times, looks like they’re doing it again,” said White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest in a briefing with reporters.
The United Nations Security Council has not authorized any military intervention in the Syrian crisis, which began in early 2011. Moscow, along with Beijing, has previously vetoed three UN Security Council resolutions condemning Assad's government
“We’ve seen two years of Russian intransigence on the Syria issue at the UN... We’ve haven’t seen a shift in two years, I’m not sure why we would expect one today,” said Marie Harf, State Department spokeswoman, to the media.
More than 350 people, many of them women and children, died in the chemical weapons attack, according to the Syrian opposition and the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders.
With UN approval, US President Barack Obama will “make a decision about an appropriate response based on the national security interests of the United States of America,” which takes into account that Syria is perhaps the most volatile country in one of the most volatile regions of the world, Earnest said.
“This country borders a NATO ally in Turkey, it borders one of our most important partners in the region, Jordan, and it is in close proximity to the nation of Israel, a country whose security we have vowed to protect… so there are a number of ways in which the national security interests of United States are at stake here,” he added.
On Thursday, the White House appeared to be broadening its efforts to build a consensus with US lawmakers for action against Syria with an unclassified phone briefing between senior administration officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, and leaders of Congress from both political parties.
Two leading members of the US Senate intelligence committee who had seen a classified assessment of the attack said on Thursday that they believe the Assad regime was responsible.
“I have been briefed by the intelligence community on last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria and I believe the intelligence points to an attack by the Assad government, not the opposition,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, in a statement.
“Based on available intelligence, there can be no doubt the Assad regime is responsible for using chemical weapons on the Syrian people,” Sen. Saxby Chambliss, vice chairman of the same committee, said in a statement.
“It is time for the United States to act in a serious way, and send a clear message to Assad and his allies that the world will not tolerate chemical or biological attacks. Continuing to do nothing is not an option,” he added.
But 116 House lawmakers sent a letter to Obama Wednesday requesting consultation with and authorization from Congress before he orders US military force against Syria.
In a separate letter, House Speaker John Boehner also wrote to the president saying it is “essential that you provide a clear, unambiguous explanation of how military action… will secure US objectives and how it fits into your overall policy.”
Boehner further called on Obama to make the case to the American people for how such action “will secure American national security interests, preserve America's credibility, deter the future use of chemical weapons.”
White House spokesman Earnest said while Obama believes it is important for his administration to consult with Congress about Syria “in a very robust way,” he also feels there is a limited timeframe in which to decide on the best course of action.
“It is important for the Assad regime and other totalitarian dictators around the globe to understand that the international community will not tolerate the indiscriminate, widespread use of chemical weapons, particularly against women and children as they’re sleeping in their beds,” he said.
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- BlizzardLet's be wise12:16, 30/08/2013First sign that peoples of the world are getting fed up of US arrogance and evident breach of law. By their constant bullying and policing the world all nations are growing resistant to whatever US is trying to do or to achieve.
Yesterday's strong slap on the face by the British Parliament was the last call of awakening for Obama. If he did not realize by now that they are loosing all popular support around the world and that only hated despotic regimes such as regimes on Middle East (i.e. Israel, Saudi Arabia,and other) totally supported and dependent of US then they are going to have very bad awakening.
In case of Syria, there is very little doubt that Assad's regime perpetrated atrocities and it might even be true that they were using poisonous gas, but the way US wanted to punish Syrian government was neither legal nor justifiable.
Obama is behaving as humiliated schoolboy who is seeking revenge as someone stole his ice-cream. Obama in heist of going to war did not even do one single step in right direction. Contrary to that he would commit even worst crime than Assad's regime.
If Obama would seek to stop usage of internationally banned substances in a military purpose than they should go and follow legal route.
1. He would need to obtain support from all Security Council permanent member states. That would be achievable only if he would recognize UN as only and supreme commander and give his army clear order to follow UN orders and nothing else.
2. He should seek that all major players in Security Council participate equal number of troops and technique to the task and all under the strict UN command.
3. UN inspectors should parallel to this efforts and negotiations work to establish all needed facts and above all who did it and proof had to be 100% strong.
4. Immediately after the facts beyond shadow of doubt have been established ICC in Hague should start in proceedings to issue international warrant for all perpetrators -murders.
5. If that would be Assad than international community would have clear mandate to start to dismantle his military capabilities. In such case the Russian assistance would be of immense importance as they know what type of weapon systems Syria has and how to disable them on the safest way.
6. Once Syrian Army would render inoperative invasion should follow but that would not be destruction and anything else but to oust current leaders and give chance to the nation to elect new. I repeat all would be done by UN and under UN command and control.
7. If the perpetrators were rebels than UN should demand total arms and any other embargo. It would be advisable to offer government option of massive military and humanitarian assistance in capturing responsible and bringing them to the justice.
As it is now that is typical wild west approach where they shoot first and never ask the questions. US did not make any plans or given explanation of what ants to achieve and how to maintain it.
US want just another military testing ground where to get rid of some obsolete hardware. US do not make any calculations of how many civilian casualties would be as a result of their sophisticated precision weapons which can miss anything up to several hundred kilometers (such as were cases during bombardment of Serbia where Cruise Missiles went of the route to fall deep in Romania causing some casualty's. US weapons are obviously very reliable and have accuracy just a bit better then medieval catapults only that range is much longer.
What kind of excuse would Obama give when his missiles would kill hundreds and hundreds of innocent civilians? Would he request his army to as punishment bombard US territory or he would politely ask Russia to do it? Will he willingly step in front of ICC and accept sentence for war crimes? I doubt.
That is the reason why peoples of the world are sick and fed-up of Obama and American politicians in general who are preaching one thing and doing all wrong.
Maybe, just maybe even stubborn and blinded Obama will see that this what they are doing and the way they want to pursue is completely wrong, and as we know two wrongs do not make one think right.
It is time to reflect and be wise. That applies for Obama, Putin, Holland, Cameron, Assad, rebels and all other concerned. Killing innocent is the easiest think to do. Dead people and their relatives do not care under which banner and under what name or cause they died, the fact is that they died unnecessary, and that hurts.
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Russia has become very adept in playing the diplomatic game, in which victory depends on choosing the right associate or partner. But there are a growing number of claimants to this role in the new horizontal and interdependent world. Aside Syria and Iran, being still important, the new venues for the application of practical diplomacy may well be Ukraine, the East China Sea and Afghanistan.