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September 15, 2014 / 20 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘chemical weapons’

Assad’s Planes Bomb Schoolchildren; 15 People Killed

Sunday, September 29th, 2013

Who need chemical weapons to commit war crimes?

Syrian President Bassar al-Assad’s planes bombed a secondary school in a rebel-held city in northeastern Syria on Sunday, killing nine people, most of them children, opposition spokesmen said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll likely will rise because many of the survivors were critically wounded.

Meanwhile, a United Nations team is investigating seven alleged chemical weapons attacks in Syria, including three after the August 21 attack that killed hundreds of people. Syria claims the latest attacks were carried out by rebels.

Back in the USSR

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Those among us who are middle-aged or older will remember a song by the Beatles called “Back to the USSR”. Ever since the minor crisis regarding the Asad regime’s use of chemical weapons, this song has been stuck my head.

This minor crisis has revealed, emphasized and demonstrated what we wrote about here long ago, which is the weakening of the Western bloc, especially the United States, and the return of the opposing group to the center of international stage under Russian leadership.  Putin’s article in the New York Times openly expressed his opinion about the old-new international situation, in which the world has stopped being a unipolar system, and has gone back to being a bipolar system, as it was until the end of the eighties, when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the allies in Eastern Europe left it in favor of joining with the Western, democratic world, and afterward, the European Union.

The Russian Bloc is based on non-democratic countries that are hostile to the West, whether from a cultural point of view, like China and Syria, or a religious point of view, like Iran. Countries where democracy is limping along like Venezuela and Nicaragua, also join up with Russia, who doesn’t bother them too much about marginal matters like human rights and political freedoms. North Korea also enjoys China’s and Russia’s political protection, especially in the UN Security Council.

Today’s anti-democratic glue is apparently better than the glue of Slavic identity that formed the “Warsaw Pact” because it is a world view and a cultural perspective. Back then, membership in the Soviet bloc was forced on the states (for instance, in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet invasion of 1968), while today, states freely choose to belong to the Russian bloc. It is not yet a consolidated and unified bloc, but one definitely sees that this union of anti-democratic forces is winning ever more diplomatic territory in the international sphere. There is an important military aspect to this alliance, due to the supply of Russian weaponry to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Many countries in the world compare the behavior of the bloc under Russian leadership to the conduct of the West under United States’ leadership and conclude: The United States betrays her friends and abandons them, while Russia is faithful to her friends and defends them. When the world analyzes what the United States has done for states and rulers in recent years it finds Mubarak, who was abandoned by President Obama with the start of demonstrations against him; the president of Tunisia – bin Ali – who was forced to flee from the demonstrations without even one of his European friends  to rescue him; the United States abandons its friends in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s threatening buildup; the West does not back Israel in its efforts to maintain its security and its strategic assets, and urges it to establish another Palestinian terror country in the mountains of Judea and Samaria, overlooking most of the territory of the State of Israel.

On the other hand, the world sees that Russia defends Iran and its nuclear project in the Security Council faithfully, and even supplies its reactors and the means of defending them; Russia is faithful to Asad and supplies him weaponry, ammunition and means of defense necessary for his survival; Russia supplies China with raw materials and places of employment.

In Economic matters as well, the West appears weak relative to Russia. Since six years ago, the Western economy – Europe and the United States together – has been caught in a structural crisis, not in a recession from which it is relatively easy to emerge. It seems that the unification of currency (the Euro) and production standards are not enough to make Europe into one body, so divisive forces exist there that even threaten the stability of some countries: the region of Catalonia wants to secede from Spain, and the Scots apparently will leave the United Kingdom in another year. Europe is addicted to Russian gas, and to oil that, by Iran’s “good will”, is allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz on its route from the Emirates to Europe.

Regarding the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, the West has seemed like a crumbling and disintegrating body, with no leader and no shared agenda. The British parliament is against war, the French is for it, and the American administration says that it’s getting ready to attack, Congress doesn’t support it, the American army is preparing for war and the State Department puts forth a compromise. The right hand does not know what the left is doing, and each one acts according to a different agenda. This is no way to build a bloc of states that is capable of executing a mission that everyone agrees is ethically justified: to defend the citizens of Syria from chemical weapons. And when ethics ceases to be the leading cause for the West, what is left of its values?

British PM: Holocaust Teaches not to Ignore Syria Crimes

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

British David Cameron said that the horrors of the Holocaust should bring out outrage in people who are against facing the reality that the Assad regime is using chemical weapons in Syria.

He told the Holocaust Education Trust’s annual dinner in London on Monday, “The evidence [is] before our eyes,” the London Jewish Chronicle reported. He referred to “the flagrant breach of an international taboo against the use of chemical weapons, the refugee crisis of our time, and a man-made humanitarian catastrophe where 6.8 million in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance.”

The House of Commons dealt Cameron a several political blow three weeks ago when it narrowly rejected his requests for agreeing to military intervention in Syria to stop the use of chemical weapons.

Speaking of his reaction to watching videos of the victims after the poison gas attack last month that killed more than 1,000 people,, he stated, “I saw children’s bodies stored in ice. Young men and women gasping for air and suffering the most agonizing deaths — all inflicted by weapons that have been outlawed for nearly a century. I saw young people suffering agonizing deaths

“And let’s not forget, these chemical weapons also pose a massive potential threat to Israel….

“Let me assure you that the safety of Israel will always be a fundamental concern for me. With me as Prime Minister, Britain will never stand by. We will not stand by when people talk with genocidal intent about the Jewish people — as the Iranian regime has done. We will not stand by as the Iranians continue their path to nuclear weapons.

“And we will back Israel’s right to defend itself, when rockets from terrorists… are fired into Israeli homes.”

Netanyahu, Obama to Meet during UN General Assembly

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will discuss stopping Iran’s nuclear program during a meeting with President Barack Obama later this month during the United Nations General Assembly, he told his Cabinet on Tuesday.

Until Iran actually stops its nuclear program “the pressure on Iran must be increased and not relaxed, and certainly not eased,” Netanyahu said.

The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported Monday that Iran is willing to close its uranium enrichment facility at Fordo under international supervision in return for an easing of Western sanctions. In addition, U.S. officials have suggested that the Obama administration would be willing to ease or lift some sanctions on Iran in return for progress in talks on stopping Iran’s nuclear program.

Netanyahu outlined four steps needed in order to call Iran’s nuclear program stopped: halting all uranium enrichment; removing all enriched uranium; closing Fordo; and stopping plutonium enrichment.

He reiterated that “Israel must continue to build up its strength so that it will always be able and ready to defend itself by itself against any threat.”

Netanyahu and Obama also are expected to discuss during their meeting the threat of Syrian chemical weapons.

Netanyahu Denies Urging Kerry to Reach Deal on Syria

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office denies an incredulous Wall Street Journal report Monday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Journal is a very credible source, and governments often deny the truth, but this time around it can be assumed that Netanyahu is telling the truth and that the newspaper got its fact wrong.

It stated that on Sept. 11, Netanyahu told Kerry on the telephone that he did not think Russia was bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

The report also said that Israel shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

“The comments attributed to the prime minister from his conversation with Secretary Kerry on Sept. 11 are untrue,” a government official told the JTA. “The Wall Street Journal report is erroneous.”

Even if the Prime Minister told Kerry that Russia is not bluffing, that does not mean the Prime Minister “encouraged” the United States to accept the deal.

Netanyahu has been aggressively pushing for actin against the Assad regime. If the chemical weapons were to fall into the hands of the opposition, it might be a lot easier to make sure they don’t stay in their hands rather than to trust Assad and President Putin.

The JTA contributed to this report.

Netanyahu Told Kerry Putin ‘Not Bluffing’ On Weapons Deal

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to talk to Russia about a deal to destroy Syria’s stockpile of chemical weapons.

The Wall Street Journal, citing American and Middle Eastern officials briefed on the exchange, reported Monday that Netanyahu and Kerry spoke about the issue on Sept. 11.

During the conversation, according to the newspaper, Netanyahu said he believed Russia wasn’t bluffing about striking a deal on international inspection of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Israel also shared U.S. concerns that military strikes on Syria in retaliation for its alleged use of chemical weapons against its own citizens would strengthen the Syrian rebels, who are linked to al-Qaida, and would allow them to take possession of Syria’s chemical weapons.

Netanyahu Expects ‘Full Destruction’ of Syria’s Chemical Weapons

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he expects “the full destruction of the stocks of chemical weapons that the Syrian regime has used against its own people.”

Speaking at a state ceremony at the Mt. Herzl military cemetery in Jerusalem to mark the 40th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, he added, “We hope that the understandings that have been achieved between the US and Russia regarding Syria’s chemical weapons will show results, and indeed, these understandings will be tested by results.”

His remarks did not ignore the Iranian nuclear threat. The Prime Minister stated, ”The test of results also applies to the international community’s diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. Here as well, it is not words that will be decisive, but rather actions and results. In any case, Israel must be prepared and ready to defend itself by itself against any threat. Today, this ability and this willingness are more important than ever.”

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/netanyahu-expects-full-destruction-of-syrias-chemical-weapons/2013/09/15/

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