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Old 08-26-2013, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default Kerry Accuses Syria of Chemical Weapons Attack

New York Times - Found 38 minutes ago
Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that the Obama administration would hold the Syrian government accountable for what he called a â??moral obscenityâ?? that had shocked the worldâ??s conscience. Â Â Â Â
Kerry: Obama determined to hold Syria accountable for using chemical weapons - Washington Post
White House says it is undeniable that chemical weapons used in Syria - Reuters
Cameron and Putin disagree on Syria - BBC
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Kerry Accuses Syria of Chemical Weapons Attack
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Old 09-18-2013, 01:52 AM   #2
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UN doin' the math - chemical rocket's path implicates Syrian guard unit...

UN calculations of poison rockets' paths implicate Syrian guard unit
September 17, 2013 — A U.N. report detailing the scientific evidence behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria carefully avoided laying blame for the incident. But the report’s details, particularly its calculations of the trajectories of the rockets that delivered poison gas to two Damascus suburbs, point directly at President Bashar Assad’s regime, experts concluded Tuesday after a day spent studying the U.N. findings.
Until this week, the public case against the Syrian government was based on trust in American, British and French assessments that were based largely on logic and conjecture but provided little detail about where information had come from. But the U.N. report, released Monday in New York, was filled with details gathered by inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and was written with care so as to provide evidence without taking sides.

Specialists, however, said the report provided undeniable evidence that the rockets were launched from points outside the control of Syrian rebel fighters. “If the U.N. inspectors correctly calculated the trajectories, it certainly seems to indicate that the chemically armed rockets were fired from government-controlled land,” said Peter Bouckaert, Human Rights Watch emergencies director and weapons expert. “It’s clear and convincing evidence.”

The key to that conclusion lies in the investigators’ determinations of the azimuths for the rockets they inspected. An azimuth is a way of indicating direction on a circle from any point. North is considered 0 degrees, south is 180 degrees. East is 90 degrees, west is 270 degrees. Variations of directions such as southeast or northwest are indicated by where they fall on the numbered circle. The first attack that night was on the suburban enclave of Moadamiya, which is south of Damascus’ center. When studying the wreckage of two rockets and the craters they made, the inspection team determined that they’d come in at 34- and 35-degree azimuths, meaning they’d traveled from north-northeast to the south-southwest.

The second attack, about an hour or so later, left behind a crater and the ruins of a rocket in Zamalka, due east of Damascus. That rocket flew in at an azimuth of 285 degrees, meaning it had been traveling from west-northwest toward the east-southeast. Lines drawn along those azimuths, taking into consideration the known maximum range of the rockets that hit Moadamiya and the estimated range of the rocket that hit Zamalka, intersect at the base of the 104th Brigade of Syria’s Republican Guard, on a hill overlooking central Damascus. The base is adjacent to the Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, which is suspected of being the root of Syria’s chemical weapons program; the base itself is said to be home to Syria’s chemical warriors.

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Why is France pushing so hard on Syria?
September 17, 2013 — In a secretive compound north of Paris, colored blips and blotches on a computer-screen map of Damascus depict an armored vehicle at a highway, tanks, a blown-up building in a suburban field. An unusual glimpse at France's military intelligence headquarters demonstrates how closely the French are watching what's happening in Syria - and how implicated the French government is in ending Syria's civil war.
As French President Francois Hollande keeps up the threat of military strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, he isn't just acting as President Barack Obama's poodle, as some critics maintain. France, Syria's onetime colonial ruler and a country eager to maintain its place as a military and diplomatic power, has plenty of reasons to be out front on Syria.


The Middle Eastern country took its current shape as a French mandate after being chiseled out of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, as did neighboring Lebanon, and French is spoken by many in both countries. France has particularly close ties to Lebanon and wants to prevent it from being sucked further into Syria's chaos.

The ties to the region also make Syria a particularly attractive place for homegrown French extremists. French Interior Minister Manuel Valls said this month that about 110 citizens or residents of France have joined up with jihadist fighters in Syria - about half the total number from European Union countries. French authorities fear they will return home to carry out terrorism.

Also, fear of chemical weapons runs deep in France, which is why France has been hardened its line since the Aug. 21 attack in which the U.S. and some allies believe Assad's regime used sarin gas against Syrian citizens. Many French people have ancestors who faced mustard gas in World War I, as chemical weapons scarred public consciousness for the first time.

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