2014-10-22 12:37:56 UTC
continual use of chlorine bombs throughout Syria in his continuing
unlimited war on the Syrian population, as has been widely documented
for months. Despite admitting the evidence is "damning" (as anyone with
a clue knows). Interesting. Does the US claim that evidence is "damning"
mean the US is again trying to frame up the poor little Syrian regime
and accuse it of using chemical weapons, when really the FSA did it,
just in order to bomb Assad even though the US has no interest in doing
that and has "limited ability" to do so? I'm sure someone will make it
Ability to Punish Syria for Alleged Chlorine Weapons Use Limited US Says
Watchdog Has Found ?Compelling Information? that Chlorine Was Used as
Chemical Weapon in Syria.
Children receive oxygen in Kfar Zeita, a rebel-held village in Hama
province. A toxic chemical, almost certainly chlorine, was used
?systematically and repeatedly? as a weapon in attacks on villages in
northern Syria earlier this year, OPCW said last month. Associated Press
Oct. 20, 2014 1:05 p.m. ET
BRUSSELS?The ability of the U.S. to punish the regime of Syrian
President Bashar al-Assad for allegedly launching chlorine weapons
attacks may be limited despite ?damning evidence,? a U.S. official said
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said last month
it had found ?compelling information? that chlorine was used
?systematically and repeatedly? as a chemical weapon in northern Syrian
The OPCW mission didn?t assign culpability for the attacks, but U.S.
officials have said that the Assad regime is the only force in Syria
that has helicopters, which were used to deliver the chlorine gas.
They Syrian government has denied launching chlorine attacks and has
cooperated with the OPCW fact-finding mission.
Under international agreements, Syria could be referred to the United
Nations Security Council.
But Simon Limage, deputy assistant secretary of State for
nonproliferation, said Monday that ?Security Council politics? raise
obstacles, apparently meaning a potential Russian veto.
In addition, chlorine is a common industrial chemical and efforts to ban
it or limit Syria?s stockpiles would be impractical, experts say, even
though using chlorine as a chemical weapon would violate the Chemical
Weapons Convention, an international treaty Syria joined last year.
?It is virtually impossible to account for, eliminate and ban its use,
because it has so many legitimate commercial uses,? Mr. Limage said. ?We
are faced with what is a tragic use of an industrial chemical as a
Mr. Limage is in Brussels this week to consult with European Union
officials on the fight against weapons of mass destruction. Much of the
conversation is expected to revolve around the apparently successful
effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
Following a chemical weapons attack on a Damascus suburb that killed
some 1,400 people in August 2013, the U.S. and Russia agreed on a
disarmament plan with Syrian acquiescence. Officials announced in August
that Syria?s chemical stockpile had been destroyed, albeit two months
behind a U.S.-Russian deadline.
But that announcement has been colored by the reports of chlorine use.
Mr. Limage said the uncertainty over how and when Syria might be held to
account was frustrating, adding that the U.S. and its allies were
consulting on possible moves. ?The least satisfying part of the
conversation is next steps,? he said.
The chemical disarmament effort has faced other questions as well. The
U.S. and Syria wrangled for months over the best way to destroy the
hangars and tunnels used to house the chemical weapons production. But
Syria has now submitted a destruction plan that satisfies U.S. and
American officials have also said that the Assad regime may not have
fully disclosed its chemical stockpiles. But international experts, and
even some U.S. officials, now play down that concern.
For now, the U.S. is working to focus international attention on the
attacks, Mr. Limage said, including supporting the EU?s condemnation of
the alleged use of chlorine as a chemical weapon.
?If the allegations are true, and we don?t think any serious analyst
would deny them, this would be a flagrant violation of the convention,?
Mr. Limage said. ?Evidence strongly suggests the Assad regime is the
Write to Naftali Bendavid at naftali.bendavid at wsj.com