Latest update: August 27th, 2013
U.S. secretary of state John Kerry spoke to reporters at a press briefing today to discuss the issue of chemical weapons used against civilians in Syria.
Kerry was emphatic that the U.S. is absolutely certain chemical weapons were used against Syrian civilians, and he brusquely brushed aside claims made by the Syrian regime that it was the opposition who used the weapons. The secretary of state was aggressive in his denunciation of the Assad regime’s offer to allow in inspectors while continuing to attack the same area where the chemical weapons had been used.
“It is a moral obscenity and, despite equivocations, is undeniable,” Kerry said about the use of chemical weapons.
“Our sense of basic humanity is offended,” by the use of the weapons, but also by the regime’s “cynical attempt to cover it up,” Kerry told reporters. He said the regime’s “belated offer to allow access,” coupled with “today’s attack on U.N. investigators” is “not the behavior of a government with nothing to hide.”
The secretary of state’s report was long on emotion but short on direction.
All Kerry would say about actions being taken is that President Obama is “actively consulting with members of congress” and with “key allies,” and that the president would be “making an informed decision,” presumably about whether and when the U.S. will take any military action against Syria.
In the daily briefing given by State Department spokesperson Marie Harf following the secretary of state’s statement, it appears that any response that the U.S. is formulating at the present time is focused solely on the use of chemical weapons, and not as a response to the ongoing civil war.
PALESTINIAN LEADERSHIP LIED ABOUT CANCELLING TALKS IN JERICHO
Spokesperson Harf also, in response to intense questioning by Matt Lee of the AP, reiterated her earlier unequivocal statement that there had been no cancellation of talks between the Israeli and Arab Palestinian negotiators. Lee, frustrated by Harf’s refusal to be cajoled into going off message – she repeatedly stated, “we are not going to confirm every meeting that takes place,” finally burst out, “one party is lying…” and later wondered aloud “why won’t you just say the Palestinians” are lying? Harf refused to respond, leaving Lee’s statement uncontested.
In other words, Lee revealed that despite the public statements by Arab Palestinian leaders following the funerals of those who died in Qalandiya on Monday, no talks were cancelled. The Arab Palestinian leaders were playing to their street, while going forward with the talks.Lori Lowenthal Marcus
About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com
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