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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘State dept. spokesperson’

Kerry Refuses Israeli Intel on Assad’s Use of Chemical Weapons

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Israel’s senior intelligence analyst  said on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar Assad has used chemical weapons against the rebels, but U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insisted there is no proof.

“To the best of our understanding, there was use of lethal chemical weapons. Which chemical weapons? Probably sarin,” Brigadier-General Itai Brun told a Tel Aviv security conference.

President Barack Obama has said that he would order military action in Syria if chemical weapons are used.

Videos of Syrian civilians, many of them children, suffering from the effects of chemical weapons have surfaced at least three times this year. Britain and France also have said that they have been used.

But the American government wants documented proof and whatever else they can come up with to get out of acting on its word. Obama talked himself not a corner because it has become clear that no matter what happens in Syria, everyone loses in  the nears-term.

Kerry not only rejected Israeli intelligence but also tried to throw the responsibility on NATO.

“We should also carefully and collectively consider how NATO is prepared to respond to protect its members from a Syrian threat, including any potential chemical weapons threat,” Kerry said at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

That is a clever way of taking the monkey off of Obama’s back, but it is pretty nervy to reject Israeli intelligence. First of all, Israel and Syria are next –door neighbors. Secondly, you can bet your bottom shekel that Israel has more intelligent agents than the United States who know Syrian turf and speak the language.

Thirdly, the United States has a history of making itself look silly by rejecting Israeli intelligence. Several years ago, Israel warned American officials that Iran was secretly working on its nuclear power program, but Washington categorically rejected the information. Its own bright-eyed experts knew 100 percent that Iran had dropped its plans for making a nuclear weapon.

Around two years ago, the U.S. government said, well, y’know, it looks like the Israelis are right again. And now the world is paying the price.

But just to be sure, how does General Brun know for a fact that Assad’s forces have unleashed the unthinkable?

He showed previously published pictures of a child, either dead or wounded, and said foam seemed to be coming out of the mouth.

But that still is not the hard proof the United States is demanding.

Brun is certain he is right. “The very fact that they have used chemical weapons without any appropriate reaction is a very worrying development, because it might signal that this is legitimate” he said.

Enter John Kerry. He knows that Israel has no proof of the use of chemical weapons because he talked with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who “was not in a position to confirm that in the conversation that I had.”

“I don’t know yet what the facts are,” Kerry added. “I don’t think anybody knows what they are.” Not even Gen. Brun?

No one knows what the context of the Prime Minister’s remarks were. Nor does anyone know if Prime Minister Netanyahu would prefer not to fall into a trap of telling the Secreatru of State and than being told to keep quiet. Or perhaps Netanyahu does not want to put Obama in a corner right now, despite Gen. Brun’s comments.

Meanwhile, the White House keeps pounding the podium that the use of chemical weapons is unacceptable and continues to wag fingers, saying woe to Assad if he is proven to have deployed them.

Back in the State Department, reporters are siding with Israel’s version.

At Tuesday’s daily media briefing, reporters peppered acting spokesman Patrick Ventrell with questions.

Asked about General Brun’s statements and about British and French claims of the use of chemical weapons, Ventrell said, “The bottom line is [to] continue to support an investigation of all credible allegations of chemical weapons used to establish the facts of exactly what did or didn’t happen. ”

The reporter shot back, “You are saying that we are supporting these investigations, but we all know the Syrian regime has been refusing UN team. How you are going to able to investigate it if the regime is not allowing you to do that? Or how long you are going to use this rhetoric even though nothing is happening on the ground?”

State: Unilateral Talks between the US and Iran Are on the Table

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

If we were to read between the lines of an exchange during a State Dept. daily press briefing, Wed. Dec. 12, 2012, then the U.S., through our European allies, are busy trying to get bilateral, face to face negotiations going with the Iranians, over Iran’s nuclear program.

As was the case with the North Korean negotiations over the past decade plus, the Jury is out on which works better in the end, group talks or US-only face-to-facers. If anything, the Korean example seems to prove that neither approach really works if the other side is comprised of habitual liars hell bent on destroying us.

That aside, pay attention to the ease with which State’s Spokesperson Victoria Nuland glides into the possibility of bilateral talks with Iran.

Nuland took a question on Israeli reports that the Administration is looking to pursue direct talks with Iran over the next four or five months and is doing so without asking Israel’s permission.

NULAND: I haven’t seen those Israeli reports. What I can tell you is that the European Union has just made clear that earlier today, EU Deputy Secretary General Helga Schmid, who is Cathy Ashton’s deputy, had a phone call with the Iranian deputy negotiator Dr. Bagheri in order to discuss the way ahead, including possible dates and venues for another [P-5+1] plus Iran meeting. So we continue to make clear to the Iranian side that in that structure, the door remains open to talks if they are serious.

QUESTION: In the premise of the question, there was the idea that … you would have unilateral talks with the Iranians without the Israelis’ permission. I’m wondering … does the Administration think that it needs to get Israel’s permission to do that?

NULAND: …In the context … of P-5+1 Iran talks, we’d be prepared to meet bilaterally with Iran. The Israelis are well aware that that is our view and that is the way we would pursue it. So it’s not a matter of permission or not permission. They are our ally and partner, and we consult with them regularly, and we’re completely transparent in terms of how we’re trying to proceed here.

QUESTION: … But you wouldn’t ask for their permission, would you? Even if it was outside the P-5+1 context … does this Administration need to ask Israel for permission to … to talk with any other country in the world, including Iran?

NULAND: Again, Israel is our ally. Israel has an existential interest in the way this goes forward. We are very transparent with Israel on how this goes forward. So I don’t even think that scenario would arise one way or the other.

QUESTION: Well, can you just say that the Administration – that this country doesn’t ask permission from Israel to have talks with any countries –

MS. NULAND: I would say that this country doesn’t ask permission from any other country to act. Okay?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/state-dept-unilateral-talks-between-the-us-and-iran-are-on-the-table/2012/12/13/

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