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DIPLOMATIC MESS - France claims UN report proves Assad used chemical weapons, Russia claims the opposite

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
September 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

On Tuesday, France and Russia clashed over a report issued by the UN suggesting that Assad's regime was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Syria on Aug 21. That attack killed as many as 1,300 people], nearly all civilian non-combatants.

NEW YORK, NY (Catholic Online) - Russia and France both occupy seats on the UN Security Council and the two sides disagreed strongly over the report. French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius said the report left no doubt that the regime of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the attacks.

The Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said that he still suspects the rebels were behind the attack.

Lavrov said he thinks the attacks could have been a provocation from the rebels to compel the U.S. and its allies to enter the conflict in their favor. "We have very serious grounds to believe that this was a provocation," Lavrov said.

According to Lavrov, the rebels have a history of attempting to lure other nations into the conflict on their behalf.

It is true that both sides have committed atrocities against civilians. Part of the problem is that the Free Syrian Army is made in large numbers with jihadists aligned with terror organizations such as al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, the French government blames Assad for the attacks. "When you look at the amount of sarin gas used, the vectors, the techniques behind such an attack, as well as other aspects, it seems to leave no doubt that the regime is behind it," Minister Fabius said.

Human Rights Watch says that according to their work, the rocket trajectories trace back to a Republican Guard base. It is unclear how the trajectories were traced, however the distribution of the rockets over an area should indicate a common origin, much like a splash of blood can tell which way a suspect is fleeing.

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While the sides are drawn, the next issue for the Security Council to handle is if the use of force should be authorized if Syria does not cooperate with plans to surrender their chemical weapons to the international community.

Russia has said it will veto any measure that includes the use of force, thereby making it unlikely. The U.S. will probably concede to this.

Russia has said however, they will support a resolution mandating compliance from the Syrian regime.

It appears unlikely that the UN will be able to do much without the passage of powerful resolutions. Already, Syria has been forced to the negotiating table with threats of imminent bombing. Short of that, it may be unlikely the Assad regime will consider talks or a cease-fire. However, it is widely believed that the regime will sacrifice some of its chemical weapons to provide the illusion of compliance.

It is already rumored that chemical weapons stockpiles have been shuffled to Lebanon and possibly Iran to safeguard them from UN inspectors. Despite a step back, away from imminent conflict, the prospect of peace remains as distant as ever.

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