Syria urges UN to prevent ‘US-led foreign aggression’
Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on September 2, 2013
UN Headquaters in New York (AFP Photo / Mehdi Taamallah)
The UN is under growing pressure from Syria to do its job and prevent an American “war of aggression,” and the Arab League demanding punishment for “war criminals” in the Syrian government.
The two identical letters delivered to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and President of the UN Security Council, Maria Cristina Perceval call on the international body to maintain its role of protector of international legitimacy and prevent US-led aggression against Damascus, Syria’s permanent representative to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari told Sana.
The Syrian government continues to deny any use of chemical weapons on the civilian population, with Jaafari reminding of Syria’s cooperation with the UN on this issue, which was often downplayed and twisted in the western media.
“The Syrian government is the first side who asked the UN Secretary General to form an objective investigation team to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal in Aleppo,” Bashar al-Jaafari said, adding that they warned, “more than a year ago, against the serious risks of the possibility of using chemical materials by the armed terrorist groups in Syria.” Despite the Syrian government’s swift permission for the UN investigation team to probe the site of the alleged attack on August 21, some “foreign countries” launched an anti-Assad campaign accusing government forces of slaughtering their own people, Jaafari said.
“Syria has informed, in official letters, the UN Secretary General and the UNSC about the activities of these groups, which coincided with a political, diplomatic and media campaign led by some countries which are directly responsible for shedding the blood in Syria and preventing the peaceful solution in order to accuse the Syrian government of using chemical weapon,” he added.
Traces of sarin nerve agent were found in samples “provided to the US,” US Secretary of State John Kerry told US media on Sunday in an apparent move to build support for a military strike on Syria. Russian President Vladimir Putin called on the US earlier to present its supposed evidence to the UN Security Council, if there was any.
Meanwhile, the legitimate samples that UN investigators gathered at the site of the attack near Damascus are undergoing a series of tests with final results expected to be released in up to three weeks. Ban Ki-moon asked the head of the investigation team to expedite the testing and report back to him as soon as possible, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
Arab League: Syrian officials should face trial as ‘war criminals’
In a resolution adopted by Arab League foreign ministers on Sunday, the body is calling on the UN and the international community to “take the deterrent and necessary measures against the culprits of this crime that the Syrian regime bears responsibility for.”
Any opposition to a foreign intervention was no longer acceptable, said Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. “Any opposition to any international action would only encourage Damascus to move forward with committing its crimes and using all weapons of mass destruction,” he said.
Yet, Lebanon, Iraq and Algeria voted against the resolution, while Egypt – which has been promised $5 billion in Saudi Arabian investments – supported it, however voicing concerns about direct military intervention in the crisis.
‘Ready for any external aggression’
Earlier on Sunday, Syria’s president Bashar Assad reaffirmed that his country will stand up to foreign intervention. “Syria… is capable of facing up to any external aggression just as it faces up to internal aggression every day, in the form of terrorist groups and those who support them,” SANA quoted the President as saying.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad told reporters in Damascus on Sunday, “It is clear there was a sense of hesitation and disappointment in what was said by President Barack Obama yesterday. And it is also clear there was a sense of confusion as well.”
Iran, Syria’s close ally warned that only the UN can sanction military action in Syria “only the UN Security Council – under special conditions – can issue authorization” for the use of force to restore international peace, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted by AFP.
With the US preparing to attack Syria over its alleged use of chemical weapons, Israel fears Damascus may respond by firing missiles at Israel. Over the weekend, the Israeli Defense Force deployed Iron Dome anti-missile batteries in the Tel Aviv area while reservists are being called up and gas masks being distributed among the population.
The US President has already decided a limited military strike is necessary to teach Syria a lesson and prevent possible further use of chemical weapons against the Syrian population and US allies in the region. A formal request seeking authorization from legislators to launch a military campaign was filed on Saturday, and the Senate is expected to vote on the motion no later than the week of September 9.
Awaiting congressional approval, the White House now has at least one extra week to try and shift public opinion towards a strike on Syria, Brian Becker, Director of Answer Coalition, told RT.
“They are going to wage a campaign using the corporate media in the United States, which really functions as the fourth branch of government in times of crises, particularly war crises. They are going to try and convince people in the United States that there is a justification,” he said.
“The United States does not have the authority, it’s not the cop of the world to be able to go in and attack any country,” Becker added. “And Syria has not threatened and cannot threaten the United States, so such a war would be a crime against peace.”