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Syria: UNSC Resolution 2118; What Just Happened?

By Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

29 September, 2013

On September 27th, UNSC Resolution 2118 was unanimously adopted calling for the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons. All hailed the Resolution including the Syrian Ambassador to the United Nations, Bashar Jaafari. Without a doubt, and thanks to Russian diplomatic efforts and Bashar al-Assad’s readiness to cooperate, direct military action against Syria was suspended. Inarguably, when war is averted, there is cause for celebration. And yet, it seems we can’t see the forest for the tree.

There has been zero evidence that the Syrian government used chemical weapons on August 21s or at any other time. While the UN inspectors report did confirm the use of chemical weapons, it was outside its mandate to determine who carried out the heinous crime. Western experts were quick to point to the trajectory of the rockets as evidence of Assad’s involvement conveniently leaving unmentioned the important possibility of mobile launching by non-government forces.

While there is no evidence (or motive) pointing to the Assad government there is little doubt among analysts that the rebels were responsible for the chemical attacks. Colonel Wilkerson, a former high-ranking Bush era official has pointed to the possibility of a false flag operation by the Israelis. Analysts are not alone.

For well over a year prior to the August 21 incident, Iranian officials had warned Washington and voiced their concern that rebels had acquired chemical weapons. Turkey, Washington’s ally and culprit in the assault on Syria’s sovereignty, arrested rebels who possessed the nerve agent Sarin. Most importantly, the US military claimed that the rebels had chemical weapons. Russia claimed it had evidence that the rebels were responsible. So what happened?

UNSC Resolution 2118 sent a loud and clear message. Terrorist can get away with mass killing – even if they use chemical weapons. The provision to safeguard against future use of chemical weapons is not without its irony: “Underscores that no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain, or transfer chemical weapons;”. Given that that in face of solid indication to the contrary, the Assad government was held responsible for the chemical attacks which resulted in the passing of UNSC 2118 – exonerating the culprits. A new and dangerous precedent has been set amidst the sight of relief.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich is an independent researcher and writer with a focus on U.S. foreign policy.


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