The Government’s response to the Syrian crisis

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, April 16th, 2018 - 203 comments
Categories: greens, International, jacinda ardern, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, national, Simon Bridges, Syria, uk politics, us politics, war - Tags: ,

Over the past decade the once proud state of Syria has descended into chaos.  Three years ago I wrote this post suggesting that Syria may be the first state that has failed because of climate change.

The argument was that extreme drought attributable to climate change had destroyed Syria’s agricultural sector.

Over a million people dependent on farming became displaced and fled to the cities.  This caused extreme pressure and tension which Syria’s fragile autocratic rule could not handle. Then when civil discord broke out the State started to destroy itself.

And as the state fell apart Syrians started to flee.  Of Syria’s estimated 22 million citizens there are an estimated 6 million internally displaced and a further 5 million refugees in the Middle East and in Europe.

And the last thing that you think would be helpful is further bombing of the country.  Particularly when a team of inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons were on their way to Syria to inspect and gather evidence.  The OPCW is tasked with the implementation of the provisions of the Chemical Weapons Convention and this includes verification of compliance with the terms of the convention.  Syria is a signatory to the Convention

Leaving it up to the International Organisations to resolve difficulties is the sort of thing New Zealand has always championed.  After all the UN Charter bans the use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.  There are internationally recognised exceptions including the preemptive use of force against anticipated attacks.  But you can’t reconcile Trump’s rhetoric with these exceptions.

Not that Trump is worried about such things as legal niceties.  After all the US Constitution provides that Congress is the entity that can declare war not the President.  Bastardising the language to achieve a political goal should not be permitted.

The language used in International Relations is all important.  Trump and his allies were seeking fulsome support from the West.

New Zealand has not provided that ringing endorsement although has gone quite close in the language used.

In a prepared statement Jacinda Ardern has said this:

The Government has always favoured diplomatic efforts and a multilateral approach. The use of the veto powers at the Security Council prevented that course of action. We have always condemned the use of the veto, including by Russia in this case.

New Zealand therefore accepts why the US, UK and France have today responded to the grave violation of international law, and the abhorrent use of chemical weapons against civilians.

The action was intended to prevent further such atrocities being committed against Syrian civilians.

We stand firm in our condemnation of the use of chemical weapons in Eastern Ghouta. This is clearly in breach of international law.

It is now important that these issues are returned to the United Nations multilateral processes including the Security Council.

The Greens have been less cautious with their response.  Golriz Ghahraman in a guest post for the Spinoff said this:

The harrowing reality of Syria’s war, with chemical weapons, a trapped civilian population and blocked UN security council, just got a whole lot more frightening. Today, the United States, under President Trump, together with its allies, France and the United Kingdom, entered another war in the Middle East. Of course the Syrian war has been a proxy war in the model of perpetual wars happening throughout that oil-rich region for some time.

The United States, Russia, and regional powers like Saudi Arabia and Iran have all been fanning those flames and literally providing the firepower. But it does make a difference when a superpower breaches international borders to bomb another nation, without even the pretense of lawful sanction. It matters because the rule of law matters, because might should not be right. But mostly, it matters because those bombs will kill and maim more people, they will bring more violence and irrevocable suffering to an already traumatised people. No one has ever in fact bombed for peace, we know that so why do it again?

The thing about watching the horrors of war in Syria is that we feel powerless but desperate to help. The population is trapped, much of the violence is actually being perpetrated by Syria’s own government and armed forces, but rebels and other ad hoc armed forces are also being backed by foreign powers interested in the regional power play, interested in promoting their own interests. It isn’t fair, because on the ground ordinary Syrians are caught in the cross-fire. Millions have lived in refugee camps for years now, ordinary children who once worried about birthday presents and homework have had no regular schooling well into their teens.

Some have lost their lives trying to reach safety. Chemical weapons have caused painful deaths and horrifying injuries to entire villages. It isn’t fair, and the deep outrage felt around the world each time Russia vetoes a Security Council resolution on something like investigations into those chemical attacks, we all feel defeated. That’s understandable. But what comes from that sense of anger and frustration cannot be blind vengeance at the expense of more lives lost.

If history has taught us anything, it is that violence doesn’t and hasn’t ever stopped violence, in that region or elsewhere. So it matters, and is telling to me, that everyone involved is well aware that strike action is almost certainly not going to make victims safe, stop the use of chemical weapons, or end the war. The airstrikes must be seen for what they are: a continuation of a policy that protects American and western interests and a breach of international law.

While the question of lawfulness may seem pedantic in the face of chemical warfare, the opposite, an acceptance of a “might is right” ad hoc approach to something as grave as the integrity of international borders and the use of force, is worth guarding against with vigilance. Leaving the US to do what it wants creates a precedent that we have to live with in future, at the whim of the Trumps in this world, with little respect for the rules and airstrike capability to match. New Zealand, as a small country that relies on multilateralism and the rule of law, needs to stand up against ad hoc unlawful international violence.

It was very telling that in Trump’s statement on air strikes he did not claim the attack was consistent with the UN Charter or was a legal response to the use of chemical weapons. He simply said that the attacks were in the national security of the United States. What he should have said was the attack served US economic interests. This war would not have been as bloody or long lived had it not been for the eager involvement of the US, Russia and their allies and for their unwillingness to pressure their regional allies, to divest from the cheap oil coming from either Iran or Saudi. We cannot say we’ve exhausted all diplomatic options, when the war being waged is literally itself a tool to secure other diplomatic and economic interests. If we were willing to forego those interests there would be no weapons or financial resource for this war.

Predictably National has tried to paint Labour’s position as being too weak.  From Radio New Zealand:

National Party leader Simon Bridges said [Ardern’s] comments underplay the seriousness of the situation.

Mr Bridges says Ms Ardern should have said she supported the attacks to make sure New Zealand’s allies feel supported in their action.

“Merely ‘accepting’ it is not strong enough,” he told Morning Report.

“We need to look where our friends are like Turnbull and Trudeau who showed support for the strikes.”

Mr Bridges said he supported the action taken by the US, British and French military forces.

He implied the government might be taking a softer approach to appease Russia, which deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is pursuing a free trade deal with.

“We’ve got a funny situation with Russia generally,” he said.

“Is Winston Peters’ hand on the Prime Minister on this issue?” he asked.

But he should have talked to his Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Todd McClay who though that Ardern’s statement sent a powerful message.  You can’t reconcile Bridge’s comments with McClay’s.  Again from Radio New Zealand:

The National Party says it supports the Prime Minister’s condemnation of chemical warfare.

Last night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she understood and accepted why military action on the city of Damascus was necessary.

“Ultimately no one wants to be in this situation, the use of chemical weapons in this case is absolutely abhorrent, we have strongly condemned it,” she said.

National Party spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Todd McClay said Ms Ardern had sent a powerful message.

“The government has made a strong statement and the National Party supports that.”

He said it was important for all parties to unite in their condemnation of the Syrian government which had “brutally murdered their own citizens with gas”.

Mr McClay said he hoped the New Zealand government would continue to be outspoken on the issue.

“It will be important for the government and particularly the Prime Minister to continue to condemn the use of these weapons in Syria and to, in the very strongest possible terms, support the US, France and United Kingdom in the actions they are taking to help hold the Syrian regime to account,” he said.

And in the United Kingdom British Labour has been less restrained in its response.  From the Guardian:

Jeremy Corbyn has accused the UK government of “waiting for instructions” from the US on how to proceed in the Syrian crisis after the allies vowed to work closely together on an international response.

The Labour leader warned that military intervention against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in the wake of a devastating chemical weapons attack on the rebel-held town of Douma risked escalating an already devastating conflict.

He urged the UK government to push for an independent United Nations-led investigation into the attack so that those responsible could be held to account. Russia has repeatedly blocked such a move at the UN security council since the start of the civil war seven years ago.

Corbyn called for a political solution to the conflict. Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, went further, saying the Labour party believed there was no military answer to the Syrian crisis.

My personal view is that the attack is unjustified.  The United Nations and all of the related entitites are there to ensure that these sorts of issues are dealt with in a civilised way.  The OPCW should have been allowed to inspect and report back.  Bombing the sites is tantamount to obstruction of justice.

And the permanent members of the Security ought to have their veto removed.  The veto is the biggest impediment to collective action being taken to address

And the crisis should have been addressed a decade ago.  If the world is going to survive the effects of climate change collectively we are going to have to handle the next crisis way better than Syria has been handled.

203 comments on “The Government’s response to the Syrian crisis”

  1. Ed 1

    The government has been weak.
    But not in the direction Bridges comes from.
    Bombing a sovereign state without United Nations approval or any proven evidence from a reliable source is a war crime and illegal.
    The attack should have been denounced.

    Keith Locke is on the money.

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2018/04/16/adern-wrong-to-accept-us-led-air-strikes-on-syria-the-greens-get-it-right/

    And Golriz writes well.

    “The campaign launched by the US with France and UK is a breach of international law. These bombs will kill and maim more people, bringing irrevocable suffering to an already traumatised people

    My family has suffered under US sponsored bombs in my childhood. I’ve lost friends, lived terrified, and known teenagers drafted away into a war that would not have continued for eight long years had it not been for the western appetite to fight for its interests in the Middle East. That is important to remember as we are sold the moral authority of the US, UK and France here against Russia.”

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/politics/14-04-2018/bombing-syria-will-never-bring-peace-nz-must-stand-up-against-ad-hoc-violence/

    • Sue 1.1

      Totally agree Ed.

      I am appalled that Jacinda Ardern, on behalf of our government, accepted this insane attack.

      Surely the commonsense thing to do was wait for inspectors (just a few hours) to determine if there was truth to the manufacture and use of chemical weapons, gather the evidence and then allow UN to take appropriate action. Instead, all possible evidence to prove the claims either positive or negative has been destroyed.

      I can’t help but feel that is all too convenient.

      • lprent 1.1.1

        The OPCW inspectors are going in to examine a site that had an alleged chemical attack. The Syrian ‘government’ required immense political pressure to allow them to those sites (and is still quibbling about it).

        As far as I am aware, the OPCW inspectors haven’t been allowed to look at suspected manufacturing sites for years because of a Russian veto after they produced a report assigning blame for the use of chemical weapons to the terrorists in the Syrian government dropping them on their own civilians.

        In my opinion you simply sound like an ignorant dimwit who hasn’t bothered to pull your head out of your manicured arsehole enough to look at basic facts. If you wish to be taken seriously then perhaps you could try to look less like a RT troll.

        • Bill 1.1.1.1

          Yeah, nah.

          Syria and Russia invited the OPCW to inspect the site of the alleged chemical deployment. (Later, when I’ve more time than right now, I’ll dig out the links to that if required).

          No concerns that the OPCW (as well as UK, France and US) do not apparently have much, if any, enthusiasm for inspecting chemical weapons manufacturing sites allegedly uncovered in (take your pick) rebel/insurgent/terrorist held areas of eastern Ghouta?

          And no concern that CNN reporters on the ground at the time apparently exorcised that wee nugget of information (the discovery of chemical weapons facilities) in their reporting from eastern Ghouta?

          Russian vetoes of late (as far as I’m aware) have been because the wording of various resolutions are such that guilt (ie – the responsible party) is assumed or pre-determined. (I’d have to dig out the actual resolutions to verify that one)

          • lprent 1.1.1.1.1

            You should dig out the links. But for gods sake don’t do your usual once over lightly when looking at them… The detail is crucial.

            From what I understand, the conditions imposed for access meant that there probably wouldn’t have been any point in the OPCW going.

            To be able to detect conclusively what kind of attack has taken place it needs to be timely. To be able to detect exactly what sources are likely then it needs to be virtually immediate.

            To offer access in the way that the Syrian “government” and their Russian allies are reported to have offered was a meaningless gesture designed to delay access until any evidence dissipated or had time to be covered up.

            • Brigid 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Dr. Bashar al-Jaafari, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, has stressed that the Syrian government will facilitate the access of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapon’s (OPCW) team members to any point they want in Douma.

              http://syriatimes.sy/index.php/don-t-miss/35920-al-jaafari-syrian-government-to-facilitate-access-of-opcw-s-team-to-any-point-in-douma

            • Brigid 1.1.1.1.1.2

              ‘From what I understand, the conditions imposed for access meant that there probably wouldn’t have been any point in the OPCW going. ‘
              I’d like you to provide a link for that assertion.

            • Adrian Thornton 1.1.1.1.1.3

              From the OPCW website, 10th April…
              “Today, the OPCW Technical Secretariat has requested the Syrian Arab Republic to make the necessary arrangements for such a deployment. This has coincided with a request from the Syrian Arab Republic and the Russian Federation to investigate the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma. The team is preparing to deploy to Syria shortly.”
              https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-will-deploy-fact-finding-mission-to-douma-syria/

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.4

              Will an 11th of April report from Reuters referencing Syrian state media quoting an “official source in the [Syrian} Foreign Ministry” do?

              From Reuters (my emphasis)

              On Monday, Russia and Syria both offered during the U.N. Security Council meeting to take OPCW investigators to Douma. In Tuesday’s statement, the government said it was ready to offer all assistance needed for the mission to fulfil its task.

              It also called on the mission to operate “in a full transparent manner and to rely on solid and credible evidence,” the statement cited by state media added.

              I don’t do “once over lightly” Lynn. And where I’ve quickly scanned something to “get the gist” I tend to state that’s what I’ve done.

            • Bill 1.1.1.1.1.5

              UN report on a couple of the resolutions that have been vetoed (one by Russia and the other voted down by the US, UK and France)). I’m not seeing the actual resolutions from a perfunctory search.

              I’ve quite deliberately omitted to signal which is which. Pretty obvious that one has a wide remit while the other is circumscribed, yes?

              the Council would have established a United Nations independent mechanism of investigation, […] of one year, and urged it to fully ensure a truly impartial, independent, professional and credible way to conduct its investigation. It would have further directed the mechanism to make full use of all credible, verified and corroborated evidence collected by the OPCW fact-finding mission, while also directing it to collect and examine additional information and sources not obtained or prepared by the mission, including all information provided by the Government of Syria and others on the activities of non-State actors.

              and

              the Council would have established the United Nations independent mechanism for an initial period of one year. It would have requested the Secretary-General to make recommendations about the mechanism including its terms of reference, based on the principles of impartiality, independence and professionalism, to identify those responsible for the use of chemical weapons in Syria. Condemning the use of such weapons in the strongest terms, the Council would also have expressed full support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission, which was already investigating the Douma incident. It would have called on all parties in Syria to fully cooperate with both investigations and allow them immediate, unfettered, safe and secure access to all relevant witnesses, evidence, reporting, materials and sites..

              edit – what if any evidence (samples etc) you reckon might have been stored or held at Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Centre? (That wot were just bombed into the ground)

            • spikeyboy 1.1.1.1.1.6

              Would that be the same sort of timeliness as with the skripal investigation?

            • Kaya3 1.1.1.1.1.7

              “From what you I understand” – right there any minute semblance of credibility you never had vanished completely.

            • Ike 1.1.1.1.1.8

              The Russians also have to ensure those investigating do not commit a fraud, bring their own samples for example. You seem to have bought the mainstream media , Russians bad USA/NATO wonderful, wholesale. What about the Yemen war where Saudi Arabia aided by the USA is killing innocent civilians and children. Why don’t you begin your thinking about the alleged Douma gas attack with the obvious , why would Assad snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by carrying out a gas attack at this time, when Trump had just announced he was going to withdraw US troops from Syria.

            • Win Win 1.1.1.1.1.9

              Iprent who the are you calling an an “ignorant dimwit”? Ignorant dimwits are those who read the mainstream media and believe they are telling us the truth – especially about Syria, Iran or Russia. Ignorant dimwits are those people who proclaim;
              “The Syrian Government required immense political pressure to allow the OPCW to allow them to those sites (and are still quibbling about it)”. Where is your reference for that?

              1. The OPCW has been in Syria, since the last time Obomber threatened to bomb Syria. Putin negotiated for Syria to get rid of their chemical weapons thus preventing the wholesale destruction of Syria. (It appears that is still on the cards – with lies perpetrated by our so called Western allies who according to neocon Ardern “have democracies like ours” Even though it is our Western allies who spread lies and bombs at the same time.) The OPCW even inspected the so called chemical weapons factory that was bombed in the last bombing attack.
              Russia also seconded a motion by the Swedes to allow OPCW to enter Syria but the US, UK, and France voted against it.

              Russia and Syria had to make sure all the pockets of rebel resistance had been cleared in Douma because they are guaranteeing the safety of those inspectors. Hence the delay in letting the inspectors in.

              Any more lies you want to bring up before you start your personal abuse on commentors who disagree with your already foul lies? My advice to you would be to get your head out of your arse and do some research or are you one of those despicable paid trolls, working for a tax payer funded agency who deliberately spreads disinformation and ignorance and then personal abuse toward people who disagree with you. That’s the only rationale I can see for your foul, ignorant tirade. Dumb prick.

          • francesca 1.1.1.1.2

            BILL

            a few links
            first up Robert Fisk, who has just been to the clinic in Douma where the WH made their video

            http://podcasts.spiritradio.ie/robert-fisk-from-douma-syria/

            second a worker at the destroyed “CW” factory

            third the report from OPCW showing that an inspection of the facility (now desrtoyed) had been completed on Nov 22 2017

            https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/88/en/ec88dg01_e_.pdf
            page 3 paragraph 11

            Fisk’s latest article in the Independent

            https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/syria-chemical-attack-gas-douma-robert-fisk-ghouta-damascus-a8307726.html

            Thats it , I’m done , too toxic here for me to hang around

        • Cinny 1.1.1.2

          Correct, the inspectors are there to find if chemical weapons were used on civilians, that’s it, no inspections on possible manufacturing areas etc, just inspecting people

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.3

          As far as I am aware, the OPCW inspectors haven’t been allowed to look at suspected manufacturing sites for years because of a Russian veto after they produced a report assigning blame for the use of chemical weapons to the terrorists in the Syrian government dropping them on their own civilians.

          The problem with that statement is:

          International weapons inspectors announced Monday that Syria has handed over the last of its declared chemical weapons stockpile for removal and destruction, even as U.S. officials voiced concern about the Damascus government’s alleged use of other toxic substances.

          The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was charged last year with overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons under an agreement between the United States and Russia, took control of the “last consignment” of the deadly chemicals, which were loaded onto a ship at the Syrian port of Latakia, the agency’s director general, Ahmet Uzumcu, said in a statement.

          “A major landmark in this mission has been reached today,” Uzumcu said Monday. “The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded this afternoon aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura.”

          Everything else I can find indicates that the inspections were happening as planned. The only thing that seems to have been prevented by the Russian veto was military action against Syria by Western forces due to unproven Western allegations.

          • Macro 1.1.1.3.1

            The problem with that Draco is that:
            a. Chlorine – having other uses other than killing people was not part of the deal, and
            b. Assad didn’t declare all his stored stock-pile of other chemical weapons.
            There is evidence that some Sarin was hidden, and subsequently used after it had all been been supposedly destroyed.
            https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/syria-obama-trump-assad-chemical-douma/557486/
            As for the OPCW “inspections” – they haven’t been able to continue their inspections as you state.
            https://www.opcw.org/news/article/opcw-will-deploy-fact-finding-mission-to-douma-syria/

            • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.3.1.1

              As for the OPCW “inspections” – they haven’t been able to continue their inspections as you state.

              Nothing in your link states that the OPCW couldn’t perform the normal inspections. It just tells us that they’re deploying an extraordinary one at the request of the international community and Syria.

              This one indicates that they were carried out but the Western Nations wanted more but were blocked by Russia as I said.

            • Brigid 1.1.1.3.1.2

              This article https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/04/syria-obama-trump-assad-chemical-douma/557486/
              does not provide evidence some Sarin was hidden and subsequently destroyed.
              It simply refers to propaganda spewed by The Syrian American Medical Society and the White Helmets, organisations shown to be as dodgy as fuck.

              • Macro

                I find your denigration of people who risk their lives to save people offensive in the extreme. The propaganda you spew here on a daily basis – much of it directed towards these people – finds its roots in the channels of the Russian propaganda machine, and only began when Russia decided to start bombing Syria in support of the Assad regime. All the allegations you present, here have been debunked by more informed and independent analysis, by people without any skin in the game – unlike Russia and Assad who spread the scurrilous rumours . Please desist.

                • Brigid

                  Jesus.
                  You’re referring to the white helmets i guess.
                  If you have watched any of their videos ‘helping’ people and STILL believe they are genuine first responders there is no point in trying to educate you, because you choose not to be educated.
                  Your choice I guess.
                  I can tell you though, that it makes not a jot of difference what you believe or not, to the Syrians I know.

                  • Ed

                    Anyone who thinks the white helmets are a philanthropic organisation are either
                    A) wilfully uniformed
                    b) naively uninformed.

                    • Macro

                      Anyone who takes their sole “information” from RT and its ilk is not only ill informed they are also dupes of the Russian Federation.
                      But that won’t stop you constantly trolling this site with “so-called truth”.

                    • mauī

                      Does first responders doing Mannequin challenge videos in war zones have an innocent explanation?

                    • Ed

                      What about Robert Fisk?
                      Is he not reliable?

                      Actually I do not claim to know the truth.
                      I just have heard enough from reliable sources to realise that what we are being told by May and Trump is not true.

                • joe90

                  Same old Islamophobic all Muslims are terrorists trope, re-worked and trotted out as all Syrians opposed to Assad are terrorists.

                  • Macro

                    It’s more than that joe. It’s a deliberate attempt by Russia, Iran, and Syria to blur the information on the atrocities these states are carrying out. The White Helmets (Syria Civil Defence) who do receive funding from western governments — well how else does a government provide humanitarian aid overseas, if not through aid agencies on the ground? — have to date rescued over 130,000 people. Many of these rescuers carry on their helmets video cameras to record the rescues they carry out and to record the damage that is being inflicted upon the civilian population. This is harrowing stuff, and is not good publicity for Assad and his cohorts.
                    So the obvious ploy is to discredit these people. Since the Russian involvement in the conflict, there has been a rise in spurious allegations against The White Helmets. eg – the same girl in three different rescues – this slanderous allegation has been heavily debunked, but it goes on, and on. Of course as Goebbels once said – “if you repeat a lie a thousand time it becomes the truth”).
                    The western blog sites that support these allegations, to which Brigit, Ed, et al constantly refer as being the fountain of all truth, are run by known conspiracy theorists, and in many cases, Russian sympathisers. These mouthpieces may have visited Syria after 2016 – but only to brown nose with Assad. Visits to Russia and the Kremlin are also high on their visiting list. Their much touted “independence” here is highly questionable.

                    • WJR

                      Macro you should get a life and get enlightened to what is reality and what is western propaganda that you are so vigorously defending. Your dialog has so many holes in it that you could drive a tank through.

                • Win Win

                  Note this information is not from RT re the White Helmets but from Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett who were journalists on the ground in Syria when the White Helmets were going about their work picking up bodies and heads from their masters Al Qaeda etc. Please do some work instead of reading and believing mainstream garbage. And that’s the second time you have mentioned RT as being a disreputable source. It is more reputable than some of your mainstream news agencies who did the very same with weapons of mass destruction bullshit in Iraq as they are doing with Assad and Russia. Do you not have a brain?

                  https://www.sott.net/article/336384-Eva-Bartlett-completely-dismantles-mainstream-narrative-on-Syria
                  http://21stcenturywire.com/2016/06/21/who-are-the-syria-white-helmets/

                  Perhaps read this, I know because of your strong cognitive dissonance and adherence to the lies of the mainstream media you will not believe a word of it. But this is from someone who has been there and seen what the “white Helemts” do for their empolyers Al Qaeda and ISIS. By the way you do remember what those groups are and do don’t you?

          • dukeofurl 1.1.1.3.2

            You are right.
            The report is linked below. And guess what they found ?

        • One Two 1.1.1.4

          The final paragraph is disgraceful , LPrent…

        • dukeofurl 1.1.1.5

          Not so
          Heres the OPCW report on the Barzah site just outside Damascus

          The Date of the report: 23 March 2018

          The analysis of samples taken during the inspections did not indicate the presence of scheduled chemicals in the samples, and the inspection team did not observe any activities inconsistent with obligations under the Convention during the second round of inspections at the Barzah and Jamrayah facilities.
          Inspection date Nov 2017

          https://www.opcw.org/fileadmin/OPCW/EC/88/en/ec88dg01_e_.pdf

      • Ed 1.1.2

        Agree Sue.
        The suspects as I see them.
        Feel free to add/ edit….,

        https://thestandard.org.nz/open-mike-16-04-2018/#comment-1474890

    • Baba Yaga 1.2

      Was that quote from Golriz before or after she ‘put on trial’ (actually defended) perpetrators of genocide?

      And is the same Golriz who allowed numerous lies to be said about her without correcting a single one?
      https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2017/12/its_all_about_the_brand.html

      • Incognito 1.2.1

        I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

        Voltaire

        See what I just did there?

        • Baba Yaga 1.2.1.1

          Yeah, you justified dishonesty. I expect it from politicians, I just don’t expect to be lectured about morality from someone who has such a poor track record when it comes to the truth.

          • Incognito 1.2.1.1.1

            Yeah, you justified dishonesty.

            Err, no, I had porridge for breakfast.

            You don’t like to be reminded of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Fair enough.

            Could you please send a link to my poor track record on the truth? I can’t handle the truth either, just like you, but I love looking at spreadsheets – you may have to zip it 😉

            I have to confess that I am starting to enjoy your contributions here on TS; they do add a certain je ne sais quoi and they do brighten my day 😉

            • Baba Yaga 1.2.1.1.1.1

              When did I say YOU had a poor poor track record on the truth? That would be Golriz.

              Thanks for the compliment!

              • Incognito

                Golriz Ghahraman lectured you on morality!? Please, do tell us more; which university was this?

                I apologise for the misunderstanding; it was an easy mistake to make.

                I’m old-school and don’t hand out compliments easily but IMO you fully deserve the compliment 😉

                • Babayaga

                  Yes, her comments are a lecture. Her rantings need to be set alongside her frequent dishonesty. Then at least we can judge whether she has credibility.

  2. Ad 2

    I agree with Ardern’s statement because as a weency little nation completely dependent on everyone else for pretty much everything, is in our interests to defend the force of international law.

    But when you look back to the previous week where she was reminding us of our “nuclear free moment”, it’s hardly the language of towering diplomatic figures in Labour’s past.

    So far Ardern looks like a mid-level MFAT functionary playing for time before maternity leave.

    • AB 2.1

      About right – though the last sentence is unnecessarily barbed.
      And as well as being a “weency little nation completely dependent on everyone else” we also have some rather influential ‘friends’ with large economies who will have little compunction about economically beating the crap out of us if we undermine their narrative. So it’s all very fraught and I think the statement is a reasonable balancing act.

    • soddenleaf 2.2

      The bombing, was self defence, since the argument used to justify it was clearly stated. Using chemical weapons against civilians is a crime that can never be acquiesced to. Russia’s laughable notion that the world would unite against such action has no credibility given they have failed to hand over the polonium attacker. And continue to support Assads use of said weapons.

    • Win Win 2.3

      Ardern was a neo con in waiting. Hence her spell in Tony ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ Blair’s office. She was handpicked for the job. Her pregnancy is for us to go easy on her. Oh how convenient. And to get her on the pages of Women’s Weekly for the you know, Mrs Bloggs. We will never have a nuclear moment again – ever.

  3. adam 3

    Funny how this chemical attack is a covenant side step of the reality of people dying from bullets, bombs, and missiles.

    Those bullets, bombs and missiles are still flying.

    Personally I think the Government does not have all the facts, and have run with what they got, but it would have been nice if they asked the other powers to slow down and wait till we get answers.

    https://www.democracynow.org/2018/4/13/syrian_researcher_focus_on_alleged_chemical?utm_source=Democracy+Now%21&utm_campaign=d7020472dc-Daily_Digest&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_fa2346a853-d7020472dc-191889593

    • soddenleaf 3.1

      Assad was never the ruler is Syria, just a region that used torture to contain the rest of the nation. Russia wants living space, fields of wheat as climate change suggests a hundred years out Syria will be a bread basket again and Russia under an iceage. So no, sure the people don’t deserve what’s happening, who does, just learn the lesson, don’t let a minority take control of your state and open the weakened nation up to foreign interference. Russia is an opportunist, us elections, bexit, Syrian, weaken by neolibs the parasites move in a gorge.

      • Ed 3.1.1

        Somewhat incoherent….

        • joe90 3.1.1.1

          Incoherent, but on the money..

          The Assads applied the neo-liberal economic poultice to the backs of the Syrian people and he and his cronies did what Fay, Richwhite, and co did to us.

          This chapter examines investment performance in Syria prior to the 2011 uprising, as well as the policy options debated during the devastating post-uprising war period. The chapter also provides a synopsis of the neoliberal reforms that were enacted between 2000 and 2010, under the rule of the present government (2015). These reforms consisted of lifting price controls and reducing tariffs, amending investment laws, unifying official and market exchange rates, removing subsidies, and opening up trade and capital accounts. The regime transformed the economy from state-controlled to a market-oriented economic structure; all the while, state institutions remained firmly in the hands of the ruling merchant-military class. Driven by the objective laws of growth under capitalism, the ruling class was keen to change from a state bourgeois class (which controls the means of production through its control of the state) into a private capitalist class that individually owns the means of production. Naturally, the state bourgeoisie promoted the sort of private sector-led activity that agreed with their private interests. Speculation in the real estate market, monopolising the telecommunication sector and going around the law to seize public assets for private use were landmark characteristics of the makeover.

          https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1057/9781137541406_11

        • soddenleaf 3.1.1.2

          Syria is a weak state, a state that torture it’s people, and now is a cesspool where opportunists like Russia, Iran, are active. Bexit, Interference in the U.S. election cause by yet another weakened state of affairs, thirty years of conservative mindless neolibs. Russia gets climate change, when the seas warm the planet cools over the northern continents by using energy to condense and then participate snow over them. Russia needs living space, needs farmland when Russia stays ice covered year round. Syria is a wheat basket during a iceage.

          • soddenleaf 3.1.1.2.1

            Crimea is an existential risk for Russia, it ain’t ever going to be part of Urkaine, the west needs to suck it up.

          • Ed 3.1.1.2.2

            “fields of wheat as climate change suggests a hundred years out Syria will be a bread basket again”

            Your source for this claim?
            The world is heating up, climate scientists say.

            • soddenleaf 3.1.1.2.2.1

              Heating up means more cooling, means strong storms, melting of glaciers AND the moving of where than cooling takes place. Arctic will warm, that will mean water will evaporate and wind will…

              …looking back at last iceage first people’s moved into north America because the seas were warm, coasts of Alaska were temperate but the interia was cover in ice, ice from water dropping as snow, water evaporating off the warmer oceans.

              Fish stocks are moving south as warming occurs, go ask anyone who fishes off the coast.

            • lprent 3.1.1.2.2.2

              Climate change isn’t like the simple black body equation you seem to be suggesting. Outside of a few physics experiments from a century ago, it is seldom that anything operates like a daisy world.

              In this particular case, I’d suggest looking around http://realclimate.org for the many instances of studies of downstream probable effects of climate change.

              But generally arid areas don’t tend to be in equatorial regions relatively close to oceans. Those are currently are the places like the Congo or Singapore which have a lot of water from the extra heat. They tend be in mid-latitudes like the Sahara, the middle east or Argentine pampas. The other cause are Continental areas far from oceans. The nearest we probably have in this era are places like the Gobi, but it is still largely latitudinal. In the past of Pangaea or Gondwanaland, the deserts were probably way worse than anything we see now. But I digress…

              Warmer periods tend to push the equatorial climatic regions further up the latitudes and cause deserts and arid areas to diminish. Conversely deserts and arid areas tend to get get caused by diminished rainfall, not heat. In our current continental configuration, cooler climates cause deserts to increase in size.

              Which is why our slow drop off towards the next glacial over the last 4000 years or so has steadily diminished the agricultural productivity of the middle east and the Sahara. 2000 years ago, the middle east and the upper Sahara was the bread basket of the Rome and Carthage.

              Perhaps you should do a bit of reading.

              • soddenleaf

                Arctic is currently projected to increased lose its sea ice. Even a twelve year old can understand that a static cold fringed environment will disappear and be replaced by a warm ocean evaporating water will rise and condense over the northern colder continents, drawn down by the colder land. You obviously agree since you state clearly that ever deserts do not form next to seas, that evaporation is draw up over the oceans and forced down over the cold desert night air mass.

      • adam 3.1.2

        Don’t agree, one point about Syria has always been – this was pushed to being a failed state becasue of climate change. The drought problem which the whole area has felt since 1998, got worse in 2006. And amped up again in the year preceding the start of the civil war.

        Fantasies about future events do no one any favours, least of all people living in the area now.

        Syria is a failed state, because of the civil war. The Ba’ath Party actually had more support than you are portraying.

        About the only thing I agree with you on is that Assad is like all totalitarians, a scumbag.

        • soddenleaf 3.1.2.1

          Syria is was caused by clinate change but Russia motivation isn’t climate change related. Russia knows thata warmer planet will need to cool off, storms are the consequence of that process of cooling, strong storms means water cycling through storms quicker and faster, raising heat and then dispelling that heat into space, stronger storm create ice and snow, that’s not going to fall over the warmer oceans but over the colder northern continent.
          Everythin Russia is doing can be linking to an existential threat to Russia from Climate change.

          • Ed 3.1.2.1.1

            Scientific source please

          • mikesh 3.1.2.1.2

            I have always thought, though I could be wrong, that Russia’s main objective in Syria is to prevent the setting up of a government of religious fanatics. They fought against the Teleban in Afghanistan after the latter had displaced the previous more secular government; and the same thing may also have been the case in Chechnya. In Syria the Assad government, while a dictatorship, is a secular one – Syria houses many different creeds which seem to co-exist without friction. Russia doesn’t want the likes of ISIS taking over the country and setting up a Muslim caliphate, similar to that which exists in Saudi Arabia, right on it’s doorstep.

            • soddenleaf 3.1.2.1.2.1

              yeah, military airport and Crimea harbor, provide Russia with the seat at the table, along with best buddy Bashir… …And yes better secular than fanatic, given rising majority of population in Russia will be Muslim, which speaks to why Russia wants to annex areas of Christian othordoxy, and would love to redraw around belorussia back into the homeland, with as much of Russian speaking Ukraine. Add that to climate change, a globally warmer ocean dumping snow on Russia, and you have a lottery of existential risks. And why be surprised, after ww1 Germany was beset by onerous demands. Now Russia loses its southern ports, has rising Muslim pop plus fanaticism and climate change. Wars start when you peg a power into a corner after a great loss.

        • Win Win 3.1.2.2

          Read the article I posted at the end of the comments. Assad was voted in and has the support of his people. More Western news media disinformation.

          • soddenleaf 3.1.2.2.1

            millions fled too, Assad was always a minority leader incapable of creating consensus with the opposition.

      • Kaya3 3.1.3

        I don’t know where to start so I won’t. smh

      • Win Win 3.1.4

        Somewhat wrong.

    • cleangreen 3.2

      Yes we need to take a long breath now as many are so heated up about this.

      Adam is right as I see this as another deviation from the fuckup US/UK and their alliance has made of Afghanistan 16yr war as we all fought that war and failed.

      Another important point was made on why Syria was singled out here was on TDB
      “Ardern wrong to “accept” US-led air strikes on Syria. The Greens get it right”
      by AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH says:
      APRIL 16, 2018 AT 11:13 AM
      Also to get the gas pipeline from Qatar to Europe constructed through Syria, in the hope of undermining the position of Russia as a prime supplier of energy to Europe.

      Another point to ponder here.

  4. dukeofurl 4

    I can see the diplomatic pressure from Australia and Britain keeping the weight on NZ, in a way we have nothing to gain by being independent and lots to loose if we arent supine enough

    Notice how the shift in US military strategy
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/103129238/us-to-slap-more-sanction-on-russia-over-syria-support
    ” United States would not pull its troops out of Syria before three goals have been accomplished:
    1)defeating Islamic State militants,
    2)ensuring chemical weapons will not be used ( by stationing troops?)
    3)and maintaining the ability to watch Iran.

    Does 3) sound an awful lot like the discredited domino theory from the Vietnam era ?

    The UN has only authorised the use of force to defeat ISIS, not the other two. Trump is all over the place on his comments but his generals will pull him back into line to keep Troops in another nation.
    Expect to see the remnants of IS left alone for some time.

    Startling to see the shift in tone from ‘we will be providing proof of the chemical attack and links to Assad’ to skipping past that as too hard and now claiming Assad has chemical weapons facilities and those facilities are supported by Russia ( ahh… the Skripal situation makes sense now its not so much what happened as what we can make everyone think happened)

    • Kaya3 4.1

      Except as we now know the US has no intention of “defeating” ISIS and never had. Why destroy your own creation? They prefer to arm and fund them to fight their dirty illegal war on a sovereign nation. The Skripal case was a farcical preparation for the “chemical attack” on Dhouma. One that was forecast by Russia more than 2 weeks before it happened.

    • mikesh 4.2

      I’m inclined to think that the US, Britain and France should ordered to leave Syria. They cannot expect to be allowed to remain in a country after they have launched a missile attack on its capital city. Time for them to hit the road.

  5. It seems that, if politicians are on ‘our side’ they can just come out and say anything they want without any evidence, safe in the knowledge that there will not even the slightest push back from nearly any MSM.

    The so called Salisbury attack is another recent example of this blatant lying out in the open, with absolutely no consequences….
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2018/04/04/britains-boris-johnson-accused-of-misleading-public-over-skripal-poisoning-evidence/?utm_term=.a6543d48075d

    Unfortunately National under Key and then English also have made this telling blatant lies out in the open the new normal, and I am sure Simon Bridges will uphold this fine burgeoning National tradition.

    It is little wonder that most citizens have little or no trust in our politicians, and I am sure you could transpose this study to many other countries today…
    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/95883516/politics-in-crisis-and-trust-issues-how-kiwis-feel-about-how-the-country-is-run

    So really you could say that one of the biggest threats to our Western Democracy’s is not the Russians but our own lying politicians.

  6. Carolyn_Nth 6

    Yep. The UN Security Council is an obstruction to diplomatic solutions in such situations.

    It is outdated – was the result of the victorious allies after WWII, giving most of the UN power to themselves in the form of the security council. It’s not democratic and needs re-structuring for the 21st century.

  7. Ed 7

    Craig Murray is on the money here.

    “Theresa May has issued a long legal justification for UK participation in an attack on a sovereign state. This is so flawed as to be totally worthless. It specifically claims as customary international law practices which are rejected by a large majority of states and therefore cannot be customary international law. It is therefore secondary and of no consequence that the facts and interpretations the argument cites in this particular case are erroneous, but it so happens they are indeed absolutely erroneous.

    … the evidence that Assad used chemical weapons against Douma is non-existent, and the OPCW did not conclude that the Assad government was responsible for the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. There is no evidence whatsoever that military action was urgently required to avert another such “immediate” attack. Nor is it true that the UK’s analysis of the situation is “generally accepted” by the international community, as witness China and Russia voting together in the Security Council yesterday to condemn the attack.”

    https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2018/04/the-british-governments-legal-justification-for-bombing-is-entirely-false-and-without-merit/

    • lprent 7.1

      I suppose that if someone wants to focus on only ONE attack where access didn’t happen until a long time afterwards….

      So you are looking at a very limited and highly selective set of sources? Is that deliberate? Or are you just a ignorant fool?

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_of_chemical_weapons_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War#The_UN-OPCW_Joint_Investigative_Mechanism

      • Kaya3 7.1.1

        Interesting. Great link to the suppositions of who was responsible, now where is the link to the actual evidence that the Syrian Army/Government was responsible for any of those attacks? Cheers. That would be really helpful.

        In the same link that you gave there is a long list attributing the use of chemicals to the terrorist groups opposing the Government. Also there is evidence of crude chemical weapons facilities in previously rebel held parts of East Ghouta found after being liberated by the Syrian Army. Russia warned of a false flag use of chemicals as a pretence for an attack on Syria by the US at least 2 weeks before it happened.
        The Skripal circus was a warm up act for Dhouma. It so farcically fake to be embarrassing. More Maxwell Smart than James Bond.

  8. lprent 8

    My personal view is that the attack is unjustified. The United Nations and all of the related entitites are there to ensure that these sorts of issues are dealt with in a civilised way. The OPCW should have been allowed to inspect and report back. Bombing the sites is tantamount to obstruction of justice.

    And the permanent members of the Security ought to have their veto removed. The veto is the biggest impediment to collective action being taken to address

    Bearing in mind that all of the known and verified attacks have been in areas in the process of being attacked by the Syrian government, that terrorist organisation has had complete air-superiority in those areas, and that they have been obstructing inspections – then their credibility is about zero.

    My view is that the Security Council veto should have been removed before I was born. It is hard to see a single case when it has been of any use – ever. If that miracle ever happens, then we can start backing the UN without looking at who has used the veto to stymie investigations like the Russians did with the last few years of OPCW inspections. Or as the other permanent members have all done.

    But until then, I can’t see any real impediments to going in to destroy suspected chemical and biological sites where there has been active use of those agents.

    I also think that a signatories to the OPCW inspections (or anyone else for that matter) obstructing (for any reason) access to inspection of alleged use sites, is tantamount to a good reason to ignore their objections.

    These aren’t any kind of precision weapon. They are purely weapons of terror that don’t distinguish between military and civilian targets. As far as I am concerned sites that produce and distribute them are legitimate targets on a suspicion basis whenever such weapons are used – for humanitarian reasons.

    The whole point of the treaty signed back in the 1890s to outlaw the use of chemical weapons was amply demonstrated more than a century ago during the first world war. Manufacturing and distribution points are a legitimate military target to prevent escalation of their use.

    • Poission 8.1

      Are yes the OPCW and US standover tactics are well known,Do you thing the DON brought back his hitman for a reason.

      https://theintercept.com/2018/03/29/john-bolton-trump-bush-bustani-kids-opcw/

      • lprent 8.1.1

        Unfortunately I can’t access intercept from here.

        But yeah, I’d agree that the OPCW needs more independent power. It’d be worth detaching forces from national armies being passed to the UN and being able to use force to examine suspected attack sites.

        And to get rid of the frigging security council veto powers.

        • Poission 8.1.1.1

          Well let me help you.

          In 2001, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell had penned a letter to Bustani, thanking him for his “very impressive” work. By March 2002, however, Bolton — then serving as under secretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs — arrived in person at the OPCW headquarters in the Hague to issue a warning to the organization’s chief. And, according to Bustani, Bolton didn’t mince words. “Cheney wants you out,” Bustani recalled Bolton saying, referring to the then-vice president of the United States. “We can’t accept your management style.”

          Bolton continued, according to Bustani’s recollections: “You have 24 hours to leave the organization, and if you don’t comply with this decision by Washington, we have ways to retaliate against you.”

          There was a pause.

          “We know where your kids live. You have two sons in New York.”…..

          …After hearing Bustani’s description of the encounter, I reached out to his son-in-law, Stewart Wood, a British politician and former adviser to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Wood told me that he vividly remembers Bustani telling him about Bolton’s implicit threat to their family immediately after the meeting in the Hague. “It instantly became an internal family meme,” Wood recalled. Two former OPCW colleagues of Bustani, Bob Rigg and Mikhail Berdennikov, have also since confirmed via email that they remember their then-boss telling them at the time about Bolton’s not-so-subtle remark about his kids.

          If you think the US does not employ standover tactics to Un organisations i would suggest you are wrong.

          What did he do wrong?

          His transgression? Negotiating with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to allow OPCW weapons inspectors to make unannounced visits to that country — thereby undermining Washington’s rationale for regime change.

          • Brigid 8.1.1.1.1

            Indeed. I found that a few days ago. Gobsmacked I was.

          • lprent 8.1.1.1.2

            If you think the US does not employ standover tactics to Un organisations i would suggest you are wrong.

            You suck on the fuckwit pills today?. I would suggest that you don’t even try to lie about what I am saying. Just read what I said rather than making stupid shit up.

            I’m sure that kind of crap goes on, in fact I know that it does. I also can’t see why you think it is relevant?

            Apart from historical interest, it is essentially irrelevant to the current situation. In case you didn’t bother to dig around to figure out the relevance of that particular action, the standover tactics didn’t work in that case. They seldom do seem to work. People who staff international organisations are generally picked because they can withstand that kind of pressure.

            You can find similar events throughout the records of many international organisations for the UNHCR to the IMO. They issue from damn near every nation in the world, large or small, as well as many corporations. The Russians in particular have been well known for it as well – look up up some of the bullshit that they did during the occupation period in Germany for instance if you like reading other historical incidents.

            So now you have finished with stupid obstruction to rational dialogue, apparently from the Intercept, how about talking about the topic rather than some idiotic and irrelevant stupidity.

            • Adrian Thornton 8.1.1.1.2.1

              “You suck on the fuckwit pills today?” what the hell way is that to talk to anyone, anyone at all? ..that is just plain wrong.
              Man you have a got serious problem pal.

              • lprent

                Haven’t been around the net for that long? I’ve been on it since I first went on the university nets back in the late 70s.

                The idea is to succinctly get a sense of how you feel and what you know or want to know across the boundaries of the text barriers. In the absence of our physical language that we have developed over our evolutionary history which moderates arguments and discussions or the tone of voice that moderates the verbal discussions, other expedients have been developed for text based arguments.

                From the vicious satire of people like Swift and the era of the broadsheets to the net there is a continuous history of using a memorable phrase to provide the emotive accentuation of the arguments presented. In particular the riposte when people attempt to use daft debate tactics. In this case diversion was used in presenting me as using an argument that I did not, and they got the appropriate response.

                Were you capable of arising above your outraged indignation about the way I chose to express my feelings to actually read the sentence following? Or was actually reading the discussion beyond the simpleton level you chose to respond at just too damn hard for you?

            • Poission 8.1.1.1.2.2

              It is still relevant today as Bolton is back.

              “Mr. Bolton favors an attack that would be ‘ruinous,’ crippling some part of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government and national infrastructure, according to a person familiar with Mr. Bolton’s thinking.”

              https://twitter.com/MaxAbrahms/status/984906554766962688

              The Russians in particular have been well known for it as well – look up up some of the bullshit that they did during the occupation period in Germany for instance if you like reading other historical incidents.

              Just finished Six months in 1945 By Dobbs.

              Interesting bit in there from Churchill when he told the Poles to fuck off as he didnt need them any more.

            • Win Win 8.1.1.1.2.3

              My god Iprent and there you go again? What the hell is the matter with you? Oh that’s right, it’s your job.

              Been on the net…. blah blah blah. You are a disgrace. Give my money back if the taxpayer is paying for you.

    • Roflcopter 8.2

      To add some extra around this… my cousin’s team were tasked with locating a lot of the sites prior to Syria turning to shit…. they only managed to just get out in time across to Malta. (my cousin is also heavily involved in munitions de-escalation and clearing in many countries where there has been civil wars).

      They knew Syria had chemical weapons, they were checking for more, and also making sure that when things did turn to custard that, at the very least, there was no chance that rogue elements outside of the Assad regime would be able to get their hands on it. If there was any chance of that happening, it would have been highly likely that action would have been taken a lot earlier than the last few days.

      He was warned not to touch them, but he did it anyway. Assad has an incredibly vindictive streak in him, and as other areas of the war wind down, he’s out for payback.

      • Brigid 8.2.1

        How did they know Syria had chemical weapons, given that the OPCW US and Russia facilitated the destruction of such weapons in 2014 or thereabouts?

        • lprent 8.2.1.1

          Perhaps you should reread his comment and try to figure out what time period he is describing…

          It is about 2-3 years before the Syrian “government” signed up to the OPCW in 2013 and several years before the OPCW pointed out at least one undeclared chemical weapons site with sarin traces that the Syrian “government” had overlooked. About that time the Syrian “government” kicked them out before the OPCW cleared them.

          I think that your view of facts about the activities of the OPCW is just distorted and untrammeled by any actual knowledge.

          Perhaps you should stop sniffing the RT eh?

          • Roflcopter 8.2.1.1.1

            My recollection of discussions on the undeclared sites, was that there were at least 6 they knew of, and probably more.

      • Kaya3 8.2.2

        “They knew Syria had chemical weapons” – righto, that’s the end of that discussion then. Cheers everybody, back to work, discussion over.

      • Win Win 8.2.3

        Sure bro. Your cousin is from ……?

    • adam 8.3

      The veto power on the UN security council was actively opposed by Peter Fraser.

      It’s sad, but true, he was right about the problems that it would cause. I think the events in Syria are a stark example of that system does just not work. That the problems Fraser envisioned, are now being more regularly played out.

      Maybe it’s time to look at what Fraser said in more detail, and maybe listen to one of the key founders of the UN.

    • mikesh 8.4

      “My view is that the Security Council veto should have been removed before I was born. It is hard to see a single case when it has been of any use – ever. If that miracle ever happens, then we can start backing the UN without looking at who has used the veto to stymie investigations like the Russians did with the last few years of OPCW inspections. Or as the other permanent members have all done.”

      No. I think the veto is necessary to prevent the majority ganging up on the minority and pushing their own interests, whether those interests are legitimate or not, which is what would have happened in the present situation had there been no right of veto.

      Perhaps question of the the OPCW investigations should have been determined by the whole of the UN rather than just the security council.

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    I think Ardern’s position is pretty sound – we lack the evidence in any case to determine causes absolutely, which would be required for a formal condemnation of either side, but we know why we lack the evidence in many instances.

    The US action falls under the category of responsibility to protect, and warns Assad to desist from further gassing of his own citizens. It is an undesirable form of action, but with Russia stymying everything from UN resolutions to chemical weapons investigations it was the option that remained.

    Bridges’ claim that she should have supported Turnbull says more about Turnbull’s vulnerability than NZ’s responsibility.

    • lprent 9.1

      Pretty much what I think.

    • cleangreen 9.2

      100% Stuart agreed.

    • Kaya3 9.3

      ffs when will people stop talking as if this is a proven event? It isn’t proven, not even close. When it is then you can pontificate on Ardern’s position. Until then she has given tacit support for an illegal act of aggression on a sovereign nation. End of.

      There is not one single shred of verifiable evidence to support the US/UK/French position. Apart from a dodgy video from the proven propaganda group White Helmets and the even more ridiculous Syrian American Medcal Society. Can we discuss this topic on the basis of evidence rather than conjecture, speculation and blatant propaganda?

    • Win Win 9.4

      you have got to be kidding on this. It’s ok/acceptable to bomb a country and its people based on lies. FFS!

      Here is what happened. I can provide links if you want.
      Russia has been consistent in reaching out to the US/EU and asking for a diplomatic approach.

      2. The Russian veto in the UN was because the US wanted to bring JIM onto the scene thus delaying the OPCW investigation. https://www.rt.com/news/423751-un-syria-resolutions-vote/ (A true over view of what happened).

      3. Sweden then put up another resolution which Russia supported but this was voted against by US, UK and France.

      4.Ardern is stating that she knows that France etc know that chemical weapons have been used. Ummm Has the OPCW carried out an investigation yet?

      5.So bombing a supposed chemical factory is going to support Syrian people?
      Wouldn’t the chemicals cause major deaths if this happened?

      6. Also if the US etc knew these were chemical weapons factories, why did they not inform the UN about them – especially as the OPCW had inspected identified Syrian chemical weapons factories, to ensure that Assad had removed all chemical weapons.

      7. Ardern either needs a knowledgable person to inform her about what exactly is going on, on the world geopolitical stage and she steps up to the plate, or we will all know that her time in Tony ‘WMD’ Blair’s office was great grooming for the sycophant, neo con role she is now playing. Shame! Shame! Shame!

      • Stuart Munro 9.4.1

        You’d better provide some links then – and they’d better have considerably better veracity than RT.

        There is abundant evidence of Russian opposition to OPCW efforts – and you might want to consider where Assad got his sarin in the first place – he uses Russian containers for it for one thing.

        • Win Win 9.4.1.1

          Wow! You are saying that the BBC, CNN etc have greater veracity than RT. Oh dear, how quaint! Yes RT does provide a narrative contrary to the mainstream lies and personally I prefer their objectivity to mainstream ‘objectivity’.

          1. For the consistency re Russia trying to cooperate with the US etc google Russia cooperation with US/Nato and count how many links you can bring up. Perhaps try reading some. Unfortunately you will only find them on pro Russian sites because the MSM is not interested in presenting a positive ‘Russian’ side.

          2. go over the live recording of the last emergency UNSC debate called by Russia. You will then see all the machinations of that debate there. And Russia’s proposals, vetos and why they vetoed.

          3. Ardern’s kow towing to US, UK and France – read her responses. Hopefully her prostitution of our country won’t lead us into siding with her BoJo allies in a nuclear war. I see Winston is over in London talking to BoJo. No doubt BoJo telling him about the nasty RUssians and how to lie better.

          4. Bombing chemical weapons factories – the impact of that is a given if there are chemical weapons/stores there. Thank goodness there were none, only an empty shell of a building which the Syrians were going to demolish anyhow. Thank you the great orange Trumpet.

          5.Shouldn’t the US have informed someone about the chemical weapons facilities if they knew about them? Possibly not OPCW because they had just inspected them. I don’t know, just a thought.

          but how useless are they? Only 30/168 of their missiles found their target – 3 empty buildings. (Reported in the US news media). How much were each of those missiles worth? What else could the US have spent that money on? I wonder why the missiles destined for the Syrian airbases didn’t reach their targets?

          By the way May’s husband will probably receive an extra bonus as the shares in the ammunitions firm he works for have increased in value after the bombing. Sorry you will have to go to RT or the UK stock exchange to see the truth of this.

          • Stuart Munro 9.4.1.1.1

            There is nothing objective about RT – the BBC generally at least have sources – though Reuters is generally more reliable in that regard.

            “Shouldn’t the US have informed someone about the chemical weapons facilities”

            Actually the allies are getting pretty tired of Assad’s and Putin’s bullshit. They’ve been trying to stamp out gassing since before Assad joined the CWC, and Russian obstructionism has prevented progress.

            The attack was a demonstration to both Assad and Putin – “all your forces can be taken off the table without a single casualty”. As befits the gibbering idiocy of a Trump-led administration it’s neither subtle nor likely to be particularly effective. But it beats gassing civilians.

            • Win Win 9.4.1.1.1.1

              How do you know about RT? I bet you never go there. Sure the BBC etc have sources. Their own government. What a load of BS you talk. Russia, Assad ie the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah and Iran have helped to stamp out ISIS and Terrorism in Syria. What have your so called allies done? Absolutely fuck all.
              Apart from illegally bombing a country. entering a country without an invitation from the elected government. Destroying a city and killing thousands of civilians. Wake up. No wonder you are still living in the stone age. You think BBC is still an objective news organisation. What a laugh.

            • Kaya3 9.4.1.1.1.2

              I used to believe in the BBC, mind you I used to believe in the tooth fairy too. The resulting revelations when more than 4 brain cells connected was a devastating day. Prepare yourself for the moment, it isn’t pretty. Here are a couple of links to show you what a pile of utter garbage the BBC has become.

              https://off-guardian.org/?s=bbc&submit=Search

              Sadly RNZ use it as their main source of international news. Verbatim, never a single question. I am guessing they are under instruction from their bosses in the government not to ask the obvious. The Emperor is bollock naked.

              RT makes the BBC look like Gandhi after a shot of sodium pentothal.

  10. Wayne 10

    Opposing it would have put NZ smack into the Syria/Russia camp. That might please some on this site, but not most New Zealanders.

    The US, UK, and France have assembled credible evidence that Syria did this. This includes use of helicopters (only the Syrian govt has these) in the area at the time of the attack. The Syrian government has form. They do gas attacks to make a point to the refugees from the places of attack – you are never coming back.

    The Russian veto made unilateral action almost certain. Because the solution of most posters here is to do nothing unless the UN mandates it. The veto holder therefore determines the response, that is in this case Russia controls US, UK and French foreign policy.

    In any event most commenters here seem to be in the camp of Syria did not do it, just as Russia did not do Salisbury.

    I guess if the PM had following the advice of MICKYSAVAGE we would have saved a few hundred thousand dollars. The PM would have had to cancel her current trip to Europe. Neither Macron or May would have laid out the welcome mat in order to get a lecture from her.

    So while she is cautious (no spies here, “accept” rather than “support”) at least she is broadly in the right space. And not buying into the ridiculous conspiracy theories that abound this site.

    • Poission 10.1

      Conspiracy theories are lesser problems then well known conspiracy facts for regime change in Syria.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timber_Sycamore

      Good background from Sachs.

      https://twitter.com/JeffDSachs

      • McFlock 10.1.1

        If the bombing had been hoping for regime change, the strikes would have been substantially greater and targeted at regime power structures.

        • Poission 10.1.1.1

          the bombings were a response to atrocity propaganda.

          With ISIS being eliminated,you need reasons to sustain actions.

          page 2 of the book of war.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atrocity_propaganda

          • McFlock 10.1.1.1.1

            So your argument is that the US want to keep putting resources into Syria, but because ISIS is being beaten the US invented an excuse to support other groups, so they invented chemical attacks that also necessitated them to appear outraged which is why they did the minimum amount of bombing, as their main objective was to simply keep pouring weapons into the area rather than brining the situation to an end?

            • Ed 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Trump had said last week US troops were going to be pulled out of Syria.
              There would be sections of the military industrial complex who would not want that to happen.

              Eisenhower warned us.

              • McFlock

                lol there you go, taking an interesting little theory from Poisson and pouring your steaming bullshit on top of it.

                I’d like to see the cost breakdown of the troops they have in Syria vs the cost of cruise missiles and the military aid given to regional actors. Armalite is miniscule compared to General dynamics.

                • Poission

                  The problem is what is the US Syrian objective now that ISIS seems to have been constrained?

                  • McFlock

                    Yup, and do they even have one. Yanks aren’t big on clearly identifying exit strategies.

                    Constrained is all well and good, except ISIS will just flip back to asymmetric warfare. Then there are the other organisations of varying unsavouriness in the area. And with Assad tight with the Russians and the Turks pivoting towards Moscow, where do the yanks go from there? Does Israel prefer a permanently unstable Syria, or a stabilising secular dictatorship?

                    Meanwhile, tomahawks cost almost $2mill a pop, so yeah, there’s always that factor, too.

                    But how big an excuse do the yanks really need to attack somewhere, anyway?

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2

          This timeline and speculation says this:

          9. On April 12, SouthFront released a video analysing four main scenarios of the possible escalation in Syria. Roughly there were:

          1. A PR strike by the US-led bloc;
          2. A large strike by the US-led bloc without a Russian response;
          3. A large strike by the US with a Russian limited response and a further limited escalation;
          4. A full-scale military action by the US, a Russian response leading to a start of the regional or global war.

          The April 14 situation is close to the Scenario 1. The scale of the US attack shows that Washington may have aimed at Scenario 2 or even Scenario 3. However, actions of the Syrian military assisted by Russia and Iran likely reduced signfiicantly the results of the US strike and it turned into a PR action.

          • McFlock 10.1.1.2.1

            It’s a possibility, but then ISTR the yanks claiming excellent Scud interception skills in the early 1990s, too.

            So a chunk of the “airfield” intercepts would likely be missiles travelling over air defenses in the area, and interception accuracy would likely be an overcount anyway.

            That having been said, the 103 vs 105 disagreement could well be because two or more went walkabout and ended up on hillsides somewhere.

            But it seems odd that two or three areas get pummelled by most of their assigned weapons while half a dozen supposed other target areas get minimal damage if any.

            BTW, I haven’t bothered watching the oompah loompah prez on this. His words cannot indicate fact one way or the other.

            edit: btw, something other than a pr strike would normally not be telegraphed for days, but with this muppet in charge, who knows lol

            • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.2.1.1

              So a chunk of the “airfield” intercepts would likely be missiles travelling over air defenses in the area, and interception accuracy would likely be an overcount anyway.

              Agree with you on the first point but no so much on the second. That said, Russia and Syria both have reason to inflate the number as it does deflate the US/UK/France weapons superiority image somewhat.

              That having been said, the 103 vs 105 disagreement could well be because two or more went walkabout and ended up on hillsides somewhere.

              And doing so before they got into defensive radar range which means that they probably hit water.

              But it seems odd that two or three areas get pummelled by most of their assigned weapons while half a dozen supposed other target areas get minimal damage if any.

              If the interception rate is accurate or even just mostly accurate then most of the assigned weapons didn’t even reach their assigned targets which does indicate that the US isn’t as All Powerful as it likes to think and project.

              • McFlock

                That depends entirely on whether the interception sites were the same as the targeted sites. Fifteen tonnes of high explosive over three targets is still pretty good power projection, vs outright missing five target areas, barely hitting two more, and having only majority coverage of targets in the last two areas.

                But what makes me sceptical of the interception claims is how one site in the middle of the strike areas falls down when most other sites in the area claim a 100% hit rate. Could be one shit or understaffed battery, but…

                • Win Win

                  That’s the problem really. While the US thinks that Russian military equipment is still in the dark ages, the Russians have extremely advanced weaponry now. Syria managed to bring down 65 of the US weaponry with old USSR equipment. therefore if we go to war with Russia we will have a lot more to contend with than antiquated military equipment.

                  • McFlock

                    The thing about claimed victories over aircraft is that they are prone to inflation.

                    But in this case, if this was an attack against a dozen or more sites it would have been a firm escalation that was matched by sufficient defensive capabilities that meant most targets remained completely unharmed. The only way out of that for the yanks is to either escalate further or to back down next time they see a provocation.

                    On the flipside, if it was a successful attack against a few targets that were meaningless, then the attack was successful but the attempt was deliberately ineffectual.

                    Either way, if the yanks genuinely believe they were responding to a CW attack, their response was ineffectual. And if it was a purposeful charade from their end, then there’s no evident point to it because it certainly wasn’t a pretext to escalate their involvement.

                    One cute theory I read somewhere was that the attacks were a charade aimed entirely at trump – his impulse of the moment wanted a dramatic intervention, and the Pentagon worked around it to have the most ineffectual response possible so nothing was actually escalated. They even told the Russians the air corridors for “deconfliction of the airspace” lol. It was not an attack designed to achieve anything other than let trump feel like he swings a big dick.

      • Win Win 10.1.2

        haha you use wikipedia and twitter to back up your claims.

    • Muttonbird 10.2

      Yeah. some observer saw some helicopters take off hundred of kilometres away – that’s the backbone of the evidence it seems, despite this sort of crude weapon being able to be discharged by literally any means, including manually.

      Always amazes me that in matter which go to court guilt must be proved beyond reasonable doubt yet in violent international incidents only the barest suggestion is necessary.

      Not saying SAR government forces or their sympathisers didn’t do this but there is simply no proof whatsoever – that is what people are uncomfortable about.

    • Anne 10.3

      In any event most commenters here seem to be in the camp of Syria did not do it, just as Russia did not do Salisbury.

      There are plenty of commenters on this site who are not in either camp. We just don’t make as much noise about it. That is not to say we blindly accept everything officialdom tells us… we don’t. I have yet to be convinced the poisoning episode in Salisbury was a direct instruction from the Kremlin. Its obvious to me there are various Eastern bloc entities who could have carried out the act for reasons yet to be determined.

      • lprent 10.3.1

        Pretty much what I think.

        The Salisbury incident just happens to fit so exactly into a pattern of behaviour of plausible deniability that the Russians appear to have been pursuing for at least the last decade in everything from the cyber attacks in bordering nations to the outright proxy invasions of neighboring states to the point that their denials just sound to me like a simple admission of guilt. It isn’t what they say that is the issue. It is the style of their stand over denials…

      • veutoviper 10.3.2

        Thanks for saying that so well, Anne. Personally I am 100% in accord with that position.

    • Ed 10.4

      Most people on the site seem to be saying we don’t know what happened.
      We don’t have enough evidence to be rushing to judgement about either Salisbury or Damascus.
      So until we knew, we should not have bombed Syria or expelled Russian diplomats – both of which actions assumed knowing what happened.

      [lprent: Please ease back on YOUR levels of hypocrisy.

      I haven’t done any of those specific actions. Nor has my government. Nor has anyone I am aware of on this site. WE haven’t got the military or political capabilities. NZ couldn’t even find any diplomats to expel that fitted the criteria.

      And “most” people who read this site don’t comment on this site. The small fraction who do tend to be the loudmouthed ones with particular ideological viewpoints. Please check your mirror. ]

    • Ed 10.5

      “That might please some on this site, but not most New Zealanders.”

      I’m glad to see you speak for others.

      [lprent: Amusing – please check out my note above. ]

      • Anne 10.5.1

        So’s… does that mean all of us “loudmouths” including ‘toi’ have got to look in the mirror too? 😛

        • lprent 10.5.1.1

          Of course. That should be done at all times by everyone.

          But sadly I suspect that Ed has been skimping on his duties recently.

          Otherwise he would be looking at the effect that he has on others rather than concentrating on the effect writing comments has on his ego.

    • Macro 10.6

      I agree with you Wayne – there were only 3 other countries who supported Russia’s Security Council Resolution calling on the air strikes to be declared illegal. That pretty much sums up the International response to this one off event. The Syrian “government”, supported by Russia and a couple of other bought states are out on a limb on this one. We would look foolish taking a critical stand in support of tyranny.

      I’m no fan of Trump, nor of May, and for me the jury is still out on Macron, but if there is one positive trait, in an otherwise deeply flawed character that is the present POTUS, it is compassion for the plight of defenceless people suffering the trauma of a gas attack, which is both indiscriminate, and inescapable.

      With Russia continually blocking any moves by concerned countries for the UN to take any positive action wrt to these continuing chemical atrocities in Syria, diplomatic measures have been thwarted. As Clausewitz says “There are cases in which the greatest daring is the greatest wisdom.” I believe this case is one of them.

      • Draco T Bastard 10.6.1

        I agree with you Wayne – there were only 3 other countries who supported Russia’s Security Council Resolution calling on the air strikes to be declared illegal.

        You saying that a logical fallacy is reason to support a strike against a sovereign country?

        …it is compassion for the plight of defenceless people suffering the trauma of a gas attack, which is both indiscriminate, and inescapable.

        If it would have been a simple bomb which is also indiscriminate and inescapable it would have been Ok?

        And, no, I’ve never seen any sort of compassion from The Trump.

        • Macro 10.6.1.1

          Well if you want to go all philosophical..

          Imagine that there is a manic bus driver driving a bus full of children towards a cliff.
          You have the power to prevent the murder of the children because you have a revolver and the only way to stop the bus is to kill the driver and apply the brakes.
          Now this is in some ways a very specious sort of problem, but I hope you get the nut of the dilemma – you have to the power to prevent an atrocity – but to do so you must commit an illegal action.
          Where-in lies the “good”? The utilitarian would argue that the good lies in the greater good for the greatest number. There are other ways of looking at the problem but each would ultimately decide that to kill the driver was the most ethical response.
          The elimination of 2 storage facilities where chemical weapons have been stored, and a research facility where the manufacture of chemical weapons has been undertaken in an effort stop further atrocities is thus justified as being the lesser of two evils. I would argue that this is the line taken by the majority of countries who voted at the most recent UN Security Council.
          The act of a missile strike against known Chemical weapon facilities, may or may not have been illegal – the case could be argued that concerned countries have argued extensively for the UN to form a resolution to discipline Syria over the continuing use of Chemical weapons only for Russia to veto every one. In such a case the “illegality” is tenuous.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.6.1.1.1

            Now this is in some ways a very specious sort of problem, but I hope you get the nut of the dilemma – you have to the power to prevent an atrocity – but to do so you must commit an illegal action.

            Except that you don’t because it’s not either an illegal action nor an immoral one. You are allowed to take action to protect others and yourself.

            There’s also not any sort of vagueness. It’s quite obvious and the moral thing to do would be to shoot and take control of the bus.

            We don’t have either of that in this case.

            1. We don’t know if a chemical weapon was used.
            2. If one was used we don’t who used it.
            3. There are several other actors in play some of whom show even less moral standing than Assad and Russia. Interestingly enough, these people seem to be supported by the US.
            4. The US is the country that is seemingly driving the international crusade against the present Syrian regime on the grounds that Assad didn’t allow an oil pipeline.
            5. There are very limited legal means allowed for attacking another nation: Self-defence and pre-emptive self-defence (The latter is why the US went to such extremes to concoct the BS about WMD in Iraq before launching their attack). Neither of which applies here as none of the countries that attacked were in any way threatened by Syria.

            Now, there are international laws about chemical weapons which Syria has signed up to but they don’t allow a military attack either (which is what Russia vetoed BTW – allowing a military attack if some people thought that a country had used chemical weapons).

            So, the attack was illegal as there was nothing in international law to support it and immoral because none of the countries who attacked were operating in self-defence.

            • Ed 10.6.1.1.1.1

              You explain it so well Draco.
              Thank you.

            • Macro 10.6.1.1.1.2

              We do know that chemical weapons were used. The WHO has reported up to 500 person presenting at medical facilities with classic symptoms of gassing. Also around 50 people sheltering in cellars died.

              WHO concerned about suspected chemical attacks in Syria
              Statement
              11 April 2018

              WHO is deeply alarmed by reports of the suspected use of toxic chemicals in Douma city, East Ghouta.

              According to reports from Health Cluster partners, during the shelling of Douma on Saturday, an estimated 500 patients presented to health facilities exhibiting signs and symptoms consistent with exposure to toxic chemicals. In particular, there were signs of severe irritation of mucous membranes, respiratory failure and disruption to central nervous systems of those exposed.

              More than 70 people sheltering in basements have reportedly died, with 43 of those deaths related to symptoms consistent with exposure to highly toxic chemicals. Two health facilities were also reportedly affected by these attacks.

              http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/statements/2018/chemical-attacks-syria/en/

              • Draco T Bastard

                WHO is deeply alarmed by reports of the suspected use of toxic chemicals in Douma city, East Ghouta.

                My bold.

                Health Cluster partners

                And which particular partners would that be? The highly discredited White Helmets?

                We have suspicion – but nothing more.

                • Macro

                  The white Helmets have been discredited by Russia, Iran, and Syria, and Russian sympathisers in the west – the allegations made against them have been debunked. The health facilities that were also attacked do not form part of the White Helmets. I think the WHO is far more creditable than RT

                  • Kaya3

                    The White Helmets have been fully debunked as embedded with the terrorists. Their credibility is zero. End of story. Next thing you’ll be quoting the Syrian American Medical Society as a reliable source of facts.

            • Macro 10.6.1.1.1.3

              I’m well aware of the Rules of Engagement, and of the legality or otherwise of this limited and signalled attack.
              The fact remains that avenues to deal with the problem through the UN were continually blocked by the antagonists who were the countries most likely to be the perpetrators of these atrocities.
              There is growing opinion amongst International lawyers that such limited action, whilst being in contravention of the UN Charter, is justified on humanitarian grounds.
              http://www.houstonlawreview.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Koh_Final.pdf
              The support of the most nations and the dissent of only Syria, Russia, Iran, and Bolivia would suggest that this is where the moral norm now lies.
              You have not answered the moral argument presented above because the question posed did not assume a need to be protected from personal harm.

              • Draco T Bastard

                The fact remains that avenues to deal with the problem through the UN were continually blocked by the antagonists who were the countries most likely to be the perpetrators of these atrocities.

                The Russians blocked US policies in the SC that would have given the US carte blanché ability to attack anyone they chose. All they would have had to do was call it a gas attack and they’d have a green light to do whatever they liked.

                Not what I’d call a good policy.

                The Russian counter proposal of more inspections was a hell of a lot better. And even the required second opinion of previous inquiries wasn’t that bad either. It’s why we have appeals in court rulings after all.

                The support of the most nations and the dissent of only Syria, Russia, Iran, and Bolivia would suggest that this is where the moral norm now lies.

                Morals aren’t determined by logical fallacy.

                You have not answered the moral argument presented above because the question posed did not assume a need to be protected from personal harm.

                Yes I did. I pointed out that we have the right and the responsibility to protect others from harm if we’re in a position to do so.

                The important point that I made is that we just don’t have the certainty in the present case of the suspected gas attacks that exists in the case you put forward and that we need that certainty.

              • Kaya3

                “The fact remains we couldn’t blow them up legally so the rules aren’t working for us. Fuck the rules, let’s bomb them anyway because we can.

                Yes your logic is stunning.

                Here is some real legal opinion so you can recognise it in the future.

                https://off-guardian.org/2018/04/16/labours-commissioned-legal-opinion-on-legitimacy-of-uk-air-strikes-on-syria/

              • Ed

                Are you defending the US/UK/French bombing of Syria?

            • cleangreen 10.6.1.1.1.4

              100% raco,
              Pure speculation is what is going on here all today.

              we need to wait for concrete facts not “who did it”

              Please all take a break and do what iprent says lets all look into the mirror now.
              Shit i’m ugly at 73.

      • One Two 10.6.2

        Which nation as the highest number of vetoes at the UN, macro…?

        So without any conclusive evidence having been ratified, you appear to be in support of illegal bombings of a sovereign state…

        Germany and Italy declined to get involved…are they ‘out on a limb’…

        The 3 primary warmongerong nations could be described as ‘out on a limb’…

        Senior Management School is lacking in logic, morals and ethics…

        You should also be hanging your head in shame!

        • Macro 10.6.2.1

          Which country has the highest number of vetos? As if that matters! Personally I don’t think veto’s should be allowed. But if you really want to know:
          Russia (USSR followed by Russian Federation ) tops the list with around 120
          USA comes a poor second with around 78 (19 of those vetos were also supported by UK, or France, or all three) – so vetos solely by USA is around 60 – about half the number by Russia.
          You can check out this on the UN official site here:
          http://research.un.org/en/docs/sc/quick

          • One Two 10.6.2.1.1

            Your beliefs along with those other faceless nameless lawyers you referred to makes ZERO difference…the quote you gave does not validate your belief…

            You are wrong…international law says that you are, Macro..

            Those veto numbers look so very different when analyzing when/what/why…

            As it appears you prefer simplistic assessments…

            The 3 warmongering nations total UN vetos outnumber USSR/Russia…

            Draco has resoundingly shredded your personal beliefs…if you’re able to comprehend the comment 10.6.1.1.1

            Your life is not meaningless if growing involves awareness and change…

            Yourself and Wayne Mapp are cut from the same cloth …unable to change and therefore unable to grow…

            That is why you agree with him…

            Neither of you are prepared to face down what you’ve done…yours and his comments illustrate starkly each of your mindsets…

            • McFlock 10.6.2.1.1.1

              lolz

              Asks simple question.
              Doesn’t like answer.
              Calls answerer simplistic.

              • Stuart Munro

                Think they might be a post-modernist – claims complexity, doesn’t have much to speak of.

      • Win Win 10.6.3

        ahh there were abstentions though. This was a resolution that was going to be defeated anyhow. The US would have used their veto. And Nickki Haley is taking the names of those countries who vote against the US propaganda. Come on mate, grow a brain and do some real fact checking about what really goes on in the UN.

        This is where Ardern is leading our country. Where we have to kow tow to the Western powers and prostitute ourselves. We have no nuclear moment and never will unless it’s alongside our allies in the event of a nuclear war with Russia. Bloody hell. Soon she’ll be getting the noble peace prize for peace or some such shit.

    • Kaya3 10.7

      “The US, UK, and France have assembled credible evidence that Syria did this….”

      Then where the fuck is it?????? Stop telling us you have it, show us the fucking money or stfu!!

      I swear I have never witnessed mass psychosis like this since……oh that’s right, the last time America decided to impose peace and freedom on a country who didn’t want it.

    • Win Win 10.8

      They do not have evidence for this attack or the last one. Not until an independent body can verify it. That’s the problem isn’t it? We gobble up the shit our government(s) via the news media, provide us. Remember the lie about weapons of mass destruction and look where Iraq is and the resulting chaos that cause including the formation of ISIS. You do realise that Russia doesn’t play games and has done, along with the Syrian Arab Army as well as Hezbollah and Iran, have done most of the heavy lifting of ridding the country of ISIS, Al Qaeda et al.

      At least Helen Clarke had the guts to say we will not send our troops into IRaq. Ardern, is a neo con puppet.

      At the moment she is grovelling to the EU for trade. Are we that hard up we need to put our morals and values on the back burner? Sheesh! so now we’re prostitutes?

  11. joe90 11

    My personal view is that the attack is unjustified

    The US and their allies have been balls deep in northern Syria since 2014, but this particular attack is unjustified?.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    My personal view is that the attack is unjustified. The United Nations and all of the related entitites are there to ensure that these sorts of issues are dealt with in a civilised way. The OPCW should have been allowed to inspect and report back. Bombing the sites is tantamount to obstruction of justice.

    That’s what the UN was for and the League of Nations before it.

    And the OPCW should have been allowed to inspect and report back which raises the question of just what the US/UK and France are trying to hide by destroying evidence. If those facilities were producing chemical weapons then surely it would have been better for them to be inspected when they’re in one piece rather than scattered around the neighbourhood.

    And the permanent members of the Security ought to have their veto removed. The veto is the biggest impediment to collective action being taken to address

    The veto should never have happened but none of the ‘great’ powers were going to even sign up without having it. Which just proves how weak and pathetic they are but there you go.

    • Ed 12.1

      “the US/UK and France are trying to hide by destroying evidence.”

      That’s what it looks like.
      Just like Julia Skripal being disappeared.

      Their lies cannot be questioned.

      [lprent: I suspect that you might be referring to someone who recently survived an nerve agent attack from someone, and who doesn’t want to get in contact with a state that is under suspicion of doing it. Just as a side comment on that, her father is a naturalized UK citizen and I think his daughter is as well? But the russian propaganda sems to have sddenly started to express concern about these Russian “citizens”.

      http://www.scmp.com/news/world/europe/article/2141439/uk-police-daughter-poisoned-ex-spy-sergei-skripal-turns-down-help

      While I don’t mind questioning your lying, perhaps if you really want to keep pushing the false news line without providing links for others to criticize, you don’t need to be on this site. You know what I am like about being a stickler about arseholes pushing faux news….]

      • Kaya3 12.1.1

        Yes, as per the “statement” from Ms Skripal:

        “At the moment, I do not wish to avail myself of their services, but if I change my mind I know how to contact them.”

        Because Russians who use English as a second language always Oxford English when they speak……..smh

    • dukeofurl 12.2

      OPCW did inspect and report back last month, found nothing of concern at the research site

  13. mauī 13

    Ghahraman’s statement is a bit wrong, implying Russia is equally culpable for the war in Syria is not right. Russia wasn’t eager to get involved, it waited years to get involved in military action while it’s ally was under attack. Meanwhile the west’s bombings were keen to get started from the get go and have broken international law at every opportunity, yet Russia’s bombings were invited by the Syrian government.

    If Australia was under attack by questionable groups and motives I doubt she would say that New Zealand giving military support to the Oz government was Nz fanning the flames of war.

    • joe90 13.1

      Russia wasn’t eager to get involved, it waited years to get involved in military action while it’s ally was under attack.

      Cite?

      • mauī 13.1.1

        “In September 2015, the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament authorised the Russian president to use armed forces in Syria.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_involvement_in_the_Syrian_Civil_War#See_also

        Two years after the US almost launched airstrikes at Syria, four years after the US said they wanted Assad removed from power.

      • Win Win 13.1.2

        Russia was invited into Syria by Assad. America, the UK, France were not. While America bombed haystacks, Russia, the SAA, Hezbollah and Iran routed out ISIS and other head choppers. Assad at the beginning was a Western proponent. He trained to be an eye doctor in the UK. He had strong links with the West. Somehow those links were strained. Possibly to do with the West fermenting an uprising, one of the those colour revolutions in Syria or Assad refusing to allow Saudi Arabia to build an oil pipeline through Syria to Europe. I forget which one came first.

        The US were in Syria, at no ones invitation, trying to rid Syria of ISIS but bombing haystacks instead. I couldn’t believe that when it was reported in MSM. Assad has to go. is their mantra. Because he won’t kow tow like we do.

        So there is Assad, trying to defeat ISIS and other terrorist groups, know as ‘moderate terrorists’ Al qaeda et al, and in the throws of defeat. So he asks Russia for assistance. Russia thinking, yes, we’ll help, because if the terrorists do get a foothold in Syria, we are only a stones throw away and we’ll be next. Russia moved a small force in – mainly airplanes and started bombing the hell out of ISIS (Instead of haystacks, bombing the lines of ISIS oil tankers, taking the oil to Turkey AND the lines of ISIS utes that wandered the dessert in their own sweet time protected by their benefactors the US, UK and France. Possible Australia can be included in that.

        It wasn’t until 2015 that Russia went into Syria and has helped the Syrian government defeat ISIS etc.

        People on this site really need to carry out some research before they start taking us into an all out nuclear war which we have no chance of winning.

  14. savenz 14

    What a clusterfuck. Feel for the people of Syria. I bet most of them hate the rebels and Assad and the foreign powers both Russia, US, Europe and who can blame them!

    I’m tired of these ‘wars’ being used to de stable countries, take assets like oil or control pipelines, assassinate people and take the pressure off domestic politics of the aggressive countries both supplying and contributing to the war.

    I’d like to see a lot more regulations on weapons for example. And those that use them, those that give orders to use them, those that manufacture them and those that sell them held accountable when it all goes wrong and innocent people are killed.

    Seriously, Assad could not do the damage he has done without being sold the weapons, the rebels as well.

    Bit like the school shootings in US, if they didn’t have the guns, less damage.

    Also they are tying to destroy the UN, because although it has so many flaws at least it used to slow countries rushing into war.

    Funny enough, we would not have refugees and all the destabilising effects of that in Europe and Middle East if the poor people were not being massacred from all sides in their own countries.

    A good speech by Golriz Ghahraman in particular that the violence will solve nothing.

    The new government should stay out of it.

    It’s a clusterfuck that nothing good is going to come out of it.

    In fact NZ should be brave and say, it’s a clusterfuck and denounce more airstrikes because it’s the innocent people they effect the most.

    As for the Natz they are war mongers and followers so of course they will thirst for more blood and a pat on the head out of it from their masters.

    • Ed 14.1

      “As for the Natz they are war mongers and followers so of course they will thirst for more blood and a pat on the head out of it from their masters.“

      Well said.

    • Win Win 14.2

      Aye? Oh ok that was just an opinion.
      If the people hated Assad he would have been gone long ago. THey support him. Make no mistake about that.

      THe Russians have been helping Assad get rid of ISIS. You know the head chopping, liver eating, heart holding thugs. They have also provided much needed humanitarian aid.

      It is much more than Assad is a BAD man. He is actually fighting for the sovereignty of his country. So that the US and another head chopping ally Saudi Arabia cannot take over the oil and gas resources the country once held.

      Warmonger? HAsn’t Jacinda Ardern just put us into that category with that little spiel? Oh well if the big war starts, she and her husband can join the army and go and fight with her wonderful democratic allies. Good onya Jacinda.

      Holy moly.

  15. CHCOff 15

    IN all these type of scenarios, whether the British govt. is terrible or not (i’m not saying it is in this instance), New Zealand should be showing it supports the British people.

    In practical and wider diplomatic terms, that would probably mean in provision of first class first-aid battalions and type supports with our armed forces.

    British people should be our number 1 in geo-political matters, not because of racial identification, but historical, social, economical and governmental.

    • Ed 15.1

      What happens if the British people don’t support their government’s actions?
      Are you supporting the British people if you support actions by their government they despise?

      • CHCOff 15.1.1

        I would be supporting the British people to have a brain when it comes to understanding New Zealand’s actions, yes!

    • Barfly 15.2

      Yeah nah …remember the Rainbow Warrior?

      The one where Great Britain’s response was basically “New Zealand? Never fucking heard of you piss off and stop annoying us”

      • Anne 15.2.1

        Yes, and remember Maggie Thatcher sent Baroness Somebody or another to sort out David Lange once and for all. (Yeah… it was all his fault) Unfortunately for Baroness What’s her name, David Lange gave her one large flea in her ear and she scuttled off home never to be heard of again.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.3

      British people should be our number 1 in geo-political matters, not because of racial identification, but historical, social, economical and governmental.

      BS.

      The British cut us off back in the 1970s and even earlier really. And then they didn’t support us when France committed an act of terror in our main harbour.

      So, none of that actually applies. Britain has wanted to see the back us for at least a century. They were actually quite irritated when Australia took the hint and became an independent nation and we didn’t back in 1903.

    • savenz 15.4

      The problem is, that used to be the case, but Britain hasn’t really shown much support to NZ in spite of us being one of their ‘colonies’. Kiwis being deported out of Britain, not much trade anymore, making NZ going around with cap in hand, begging for trade deals from Asia, because they seem to have been crushed by the rejection by Britain for trade post war. Get over it! There is always going to be a market for good quality food, we don’t have to rush to the bottom by selling ourselves cheap and wag our tail at every country we meet hoping for a pat.

      NZ needs to work out it’s own identity. Geographically we are in the Pacific, ex colony of Britain and now wooing China, while also wooing the US.

      Maybe time for less woo, and more focus on NZ, the Pacific, Australia and domestic politics.

      There’s plenty of problems at home, and NZ seems to think that other countries should solve everything for us (our defence, our exports, our economy, run our land like a banana republic, even build our houses and now grow our food, etc).

      The people most invested in NZ, are our residents and they are the people to invest in that work here and grow the economy here and be a sane and respected voice in world politics, not just another vote to trade for .

      Nobody else is gonna take care of Kiwis without extracting a price or wanting to take over the country or have defence strategy here making us a soft target in a bigger fight. ( think Brits fleeing Cyprus after strikes were launched there). Have we not learned from Rainbow warrior, NZ is a target but when we make a stand , it actually make the world respect us more than grovelling around.

  16. I think Jacinda has made a big mistake .Lets keep out of other peoples wars.Over the years they have proved disastrous.I want expect from Jacinda .However we all make mistakes.

  17. cleangreen 17

    The proof in the pudding is the eating, we will see then.

  18. SPC 18

    The, “accept” what was done, by those who claimed to have been convinced by evidence (of chemical weapons use and associated presumption of perpetrator) rather than “support” is wonderful diplomatic language.

    She cannot undo what others have chosen to do, but it might have been worse … they have not used it to justify regime change (as per Iraq) or even a no fly zone (given their form there is a trust issue here in any case).

    She has not resiled from evidence first policy, she has not resiled from intenational legitimacy to action (there is the matter of what the agreed in advance course of action should be taken when such weapons are used and it is proven a government did this – this is much better deterrent than what occurs now).

    The right cannot say she stood against “the West”, the left cannot say she supported use of military force where the legitimacy of it was questionable.

  19. Win Win 19

    Perhaps this might help shed some light on the subject.

    The article originates from a Facebook post made by Hadi Nasrallah, an independent political commentator and researcher.

    BEIRUT, Lebanon – The victory of Syria only matters to those who refuse to put a smile on the faces of Zionists, terrorists and Imperialists.

    Syria is only the concern of those who appreciate its rich culture, its astonishing history and its determined support for the resistances in the region, while the other side’s only concern is Assad and not Syria.

    If you truly cared for Syria you would’ve known what is best for the country and its people and not justify any western aggression there from the same regimes that you and I know want Syria to be another Libya and Iraq. It amazes me that you think we believe the “I care for Syria” rubbish coming out of your mouth while we all know it is a disguise to either your sectarian or political loathe for Assad whom you heard of when Al-Jazeera and CNN orchestrated your daily news consumption.

    After 7 years of a Global and Destructive war some still choose to be blind and hold on to their unexplained grudge towards Syria and its people. Yes its people. Because the few refugees you met days ago with political affiliations and no proof of their allegations against the government do not represent the resistant people of Syria. It’s just their word against the other. And the 2.5 million Syrians held in “rebel” territories don’t speak on behalf of the 18 million Syrians in Government held regions.

    The people of Syria you claim that you care for democratically elected Assad as their president (of the 15 million Syrians eligible to vote almost 11 million voted for Assad) legitimately under UN law, you know, the same organisation that you refer to as a source when it come to “Assad crimes”. Feel like a hypocrite yet?.

    RevContent InArticle SOLO
    And what? You have videos of “Assad crimes” from Al Qaeda linked groups?

    We have videos of “Rebel” crimes against civilians. So that’s just your evidence against mine.
    The battle in Syria goes beyond your limited stances on a President, it is a battle between chaos and stability, between the Zionist axis and the resistance axis whether you believe so or not.

    You choose your camp.

    One day you will regret being part of the media war against the liberation of Syria. If you do not question yourself after all these years, then you are either in denial or an enemy of resistance and you belong in the Zionist camp.

    #StandWithSyria

  20. Whilst I am no friend of Assad, blaming him for the so-called “gas attack” in Douma appears to fly in the face of information slowly coming out of Syria. Everything I’ve read indicates he had zero motive for launching the alleged chemical attack. He was days away from re-taking all of East Ghouta and Douma, using conventional weapons.

    Especially interesting is that the alleged attack took place three to four days after Trump announced he wanted all US forces out of Syria. This must have upset other anti-Assad ‘actors’; Saudi Arabia, Israel, and sundry rebel groups. A week later, US Ambassador to the United Nations, Nicki Haley announces that US forces will stay in Syria “until we know we’ve accomplished those things”.

    Someone knew precisely which buttons to push in Trump and manipulate him to reverse his decision.

  21. WJR 23

    The beginning of the article stated that ” The argument was that extreme drought attributable to climate change had destroyed Syria’s agricultural sector.”
    Considering that back in the 1940’s that America had their eyes on Syria (along with other middle east countries to acquire their oil and minerals)
    Now with the ability of Americas Geo-Engineering capabilities which they have been developing since the 50’s it is not hard to speculate that the drought situation was achieved through Geo-Engineering which would have started this whole mess. So not climate change but using weather as a instrument of war.

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