Nikki Haley Lays Syria Marker Down at U.N. [VIDEO]
Nikki Haley Lays Syria Marker Down at U.N. [VIDEO]
Nikki Haley told the U.N. Security Council Monday afternoon that the United States was prepared to act unilaterally in Ghouta, Syria, if a proposed immediate 30 day ceasefire binding resolution failed.
Our United Nations ambassador reminded the Council of a similar situation in Syria last year where, in the face of reported chemical attacks and U.N. inaction, the United States struck on its own.
“We warn any nation determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, but most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must,” Haley said. “It is not a path we prefer. But it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again.”
Casualties and devastation having been mounting since the previously agreed to 30 hr ceasefire was essentially ignored. Russia, in some fancy footwork (Shocking, no?), had been using the ceasefire for rhetorical house cleaning:
After voting for a ceasefire, Russian military aircraft had mounted 20 raids in Ghouta and Damascus between 24 and 28 February, he added.
Russia says it is targeting specific jihadist groups that were excluded from the ceasefire by the previous resolution, adding that it has offered to evacuate civilians.
But the number of jihadists in the town are nowhere near the number required to justify the scale of the Syrian bombardment, let alone the alleged use of chemical weapons in civilians. More than 1,000 people have died since mid-February.
As pointed out in her speech today, Russia was exploiting the “everybody is a terrorist” clause. In other words, leaving smoking holes in the ground for Assad regime troops to retake.
RT @USUN: “The Russian & Syrian regimes label anyone as terrorists who resist their absolute control. In the eyes of Russia, Iran & Assad, the neighborhoods of eastern Ghouta are full of ‘terrorists.’ The hospitals are full of ‘terrorists.’ The schools are full of ‘terrorists.’” pic.twitter.com/2a1Xq7V1p0
— Nikki Haley (@nikkihaley) March 12, 2018
Monday’s proposed resolution clears up that ambiguity. Could it be that the Russians have heard the U.S. message loud and clear? Late word Monday from the largest rebel group in Ghouta said they were in evacuation negotiations with…guess who?
The largest rebel group in Syria’s besieged Eastern Ghouta region says it has agreed with the government’s key ally Russia to evacuate wounded people.
Jaysh al-Islam said the evacuations would take place in stages, but it did not say when they would begin.
There was no confirmation from Russia, but the UN said there had been talks.
More than 1,100 civilians have been killed and 4,000 wounded since the government stepped up its offensive on the Eastern Ghouta on 18 February.
Soldiers and allied militiamen have recaptured 60% of the enclave, which is just outside Damascus, the Syrian capital, and split it into three separate pockets in recent days.
Since the Russians have been responsible for the bulk of the destruction and death, pretty darned magnanimous of them to step up, n’est pas?
The UK representative at the UN, John Allen, strongly backed the US stance, saying Russia had done next to nothing to implement the terms of the previous UN resolution implementing a previous 30-hour ceasefire.
He asked if there had been a single civilian evacuation since the ceasefire and answered: “Not a single one. Again, it is the regime who will not permit their civilians to reach urgently needed medical care. In 17 days only one convoy had been allowed to enter eastern Ghouta.”
As always when dealing with the multiplicity of players in the snakepit that is Syria, who EXACTLY will be leaving is open to conjecture:
The Army of Islam said the wounded will be evacuated in stages but made no mention of whether they are rebel fighters or civilians. The group also did not say when the evacuations would begin or where the wounded would be taken.
…and the possibility of a U.S. strike going horribly wrong exists. Thanks to all the mutual combatants in the area, it’s downright dizzying keeping track. It sure hasn’t been JUST Russians settling scores by any stretch.
Parallel offensives waged by Turkey and the Syrian government on two separate towns in Syria on Monday pushed residents into overcrowded shelters for safety as others tried to flee the advancing forces by road…
…Meanwhile, thousands of people were fleeing the northwestern town of Afrin as Turkish troops and Turkey-backed opposition fighters moved closer to completely encircling it.
Ebrahim Ebrahim, a Europe-based spokesman for the largest Kurdish group in Syria, the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, said those fleeing were heading toward government-controlled areas, fearful that Turkish troops and Turkey-backed Syrian opposition fighters might commit atrocities against the Kurds and minority Christians, Alawites and Yazidis in the town.
Turkish troops have destroyed water and power stations that supply Afrin, making it difficult for people to stay there.
“Water has been cut from Afrin for a week now. Everyone is very scared of what’s coming now that the Turkish occupying forces are getting closer to the town’s center,” said resident Serbest Hassan. He said 800,000 civilians in Afrin were now facing a humanitarian “catastrophe” amid food shortages and relentless Turkish airstrikes. There is real fear, he said, of massacres once Turkish troops and their allies reach the town.
Turkey launched the military offensive against the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia known as YPG, to clear its fighters from the enclave of Afrin. Ankara considers the YPG a terror organization linked to its own Kurdish insurgency.
France’s Emmanuel Macron has also piped up to support independent action against the Assad regime if there is “proof” positive of chlorine or other chemical weapons in use.
Macron said “The day we have … irrefutable proof that the red line was crossed – namely the chemical weapons were used to lethal effect – we will do what the Americans themselves did moreover a few months ago; we would put ourselves in position to proceed with targeted strikes.”
But we’ve been around guys with great creases drawing declamatory red lines before, so don’t hold your breath on the French.
No, it’ll be up to us. While I am thrilled we NOW mean it when we put the world on notice, and they now know we mean it, this particular snakepit isn’t being cleared of any of its deadly vipers any time soon, 500 pounders or cruise missiles aside.
The crux of the problem is: How does one sail in to save “the good guys,” when THOSE guys are only playing nice long enough to exterminate the other guys when nobody’s looking?
‘Tis a ghastly puzzlement.