The anti-Assad lobby at the United Nations is using the chemical weapons scare as a new way to exert political and economic pressure on the Syrian government, the country’s information minister Omran Ahed al-Zouabi (right) accused.
“First of all, I want to confirm that statements by the US Secretary of State and British government are inconsistent with reality and a barefaced lie,” Zouabi told the media. “I want to stress one more time that Syria would never use it (chemical weapons) – not only because of its adherence to the international law and rules of leading war, but because of humanitarian and moral issues.”
In defence of his country’s position, the minister recalled how it had been Syria that made the official request to the UN to investigate the incident in Khan al-Assal, which he described as an “important and brave step”.
“It proves once again that the whole policy of the Syrian government is targeted against the use of any kind of weapons of mass destruction by anybody: terrorists, Israel or any other neighbouring state,” he said.
Zouabi hit out at the hypocrisy of Washington: “The United States pretends that there are no terrorists acting on Syrian territory at the same time as being a country “involved in some of the biggest acts of terror in the world,” he stated.It was not difficult to find evidence of Washington’s duplicity, the minister went on: “The US is concealing information that Qatar is financing terrorists and supplying weapons to them. Thus, the US is basically involved in what is happening in Syria,” he accused.
In all their “absurdity and deceitfulness,” Zouabi observed, the hypocritical words and divisive actions of some Western governments are made in pursuit of their own basic goals.
In this case, he noted: “Their aim is, first, to cover those who are really behind use of chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal, and secondly, to repeat the Iraqi scenario, to pave the way for other investigation inspections. To provide, based on their results, maps, photos of rockets and other fabricated materials to the UN which, as we know, opened the way to the occupation of Iraq.”
Sadly, the rhetoric does not move the situation forward. Without any hard evidence, American accusations of chemical weapons use in Syria fall short of United Nations standards of establishing “proof”, a UN chemical inspector recently confirmed.
Meanwhile, Russian foreign ministry spokesman Aleksandr Lukashevich said the UN Secretary-General’s initially positive reaction to Syria’s appeal for an investigation “underwent drastic change under the influence of a number of states.” He also drew parallels with historic events in Iraq.
“The management of the UN Secretariat demands that Damascus agree to the establishment of a permanent mechanism for inspection throughout Syrian territory with unlimited access to everywhere . . . The proposed scheme of inspections is similar to those used at the end of the last century in Iraq, which, unlike Syria, was under UN sanctions at the time.” And, he concluded:
“It is difficult to understand why leaders of the UN Secretariat preferred to follow those concerned not about exact steps towards the suppression of use of chemical weapons in the Syrian crisis, but about changing the ruling regime of a sovereign state.”
Excerpts from this article originally appeared in Gulf Times