Saying it right

Recently concluded ADMM-Plus in Bandar Seri Begawan

The current position of Malaysia when it comes to regional maritime issues from the goe-poltical stand point is very important. Our neutrality and open-ness should not be misconstrued that we are taking a position for any of the more powerful forces to flex their muscle and throw their weight around. More over, at the expense and behest of another nation especially our regional economic partners and neighbours.

Bangkok Post report:

Malaysia, Asean split on sea threat

Malaysia differed with fellow Southeast Asian claimants in the South China Sea on the threat posed by China, dismissing concerns about patrols off its coast.

A Chinese marine surveillance ship is seen offshore of Vietnam’s central Phu Yen province on May 26, 2011. (Reuters photo)

Malaysia is not worried about how often Chinese ships patrol the areas it claims in the waters, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in an interview in Brunei yesterday. Chinese Navy ships in March visited James Shoal off Malaysia, near where Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDSA) and Petroliam Nasional Bhd have oil and gas operations.

“Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies,” Hishammuddin said on the sidelines of meetings with counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as well as the United States. The Chinese “can patrol every day, but if their intention is not to go to war” it is of less concern, he said. “I think we have enough level of trust that we will not be moved by day-to-day politics or emotions.”

Malaysia is one of six claimants to land features in the South China Sea, an area where competition for gas and fish has led to boats being rammed and survey cables cut. The Philippines and Vietnam reject China’s map of the sea, first published in the 1940s, as a basis for joint exploration.

“Asean is divided on the South China Sea dispute because all the members have different interests in the South China Sea and their relationships with China also differ,” said Ian Storey, a senior fellow at the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies in Singapore.

“Vietnam and the Philippines see the dispute as a major national security concern while Malaysia and Brunei always downplay tensions.”

US Concerns

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel met Hishammuddin on Thursday, alongside defense ministers from Asean, China, Japan and South Korea, for the second ADMM-Plus security summit. Hagel told ministers he was concerned by a rise in maritime incidents and tensions in the waters.

“Actions at sea to advance territorial claims do not strengthen any party’s legal claim,” Hagel said, according to remarks prepared for delivery. “Instead, they increase the risk of confrontation, undermine regional stability, and dim the prospects for diplomacy.”

The situation in the South China Sea is “stable,” said China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, after meeting his Thai counterpart Surapong Tovichakchaikul in Beijing on Thursday. “Such a stable situation does not come easily and we should dearly cherish it,” he said.

“There is no real problem with freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, nor will there be a problem in the future.”

Collaboration Option

Malaysia could consider collaborating on the development of oil and gas resources with China in the area, Hishammuddin said in the interview.

“Provided our friends in Asean know, those who have an interest in the region know, and if they want to object, I would like to know why?” Hishammuddin said. “If they’re just objecting for the sake of objecting, that doesn’t make sense.”

China National Offshore Oil Corp estimates the South China Sea may hold about five times more undiscovered natural gas than the country’s current proved reserves, according to the US Energy Information Administration. In June, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak called for parties to jointly develop resources to avoid conflict and prevent “extra-regional states” from becoming involved.

Najib cited a joint development zone in waters claimed by Thailand and Malaysia as a precedent that could be applied in the South China Sea. China has agreed to talks on a code of conduct for the area, with discussions to begin in September.

Brunei Meetings

“China is somewhat reluctant to reach a consensus on the code of conduct with Asean members, if the area covered by the code of conduct is in certain portions of the South China Sea claimed by China,” said Arthur Ding, a research fellow at the Institute of International Relations in Taiwan.

Meeting host Brunei, which claims some of the South China Sea, has suggested setting up a hotline to address disputes in the waters, said a senior US defense official who can’t be named according to government policy. That has been under discussion for some months with Asean talking about other ways to avert conflict, such as no first use of force and holding exercises on avoiding collisions at sea, the official said.

Hagel will visit Vietnam next year at the invitation of Vietnam’s defense minister, according to the US official. Hagel also met his counterpart from Myanmar for talks in Brunei on Wednesday, the first meeting of top defense figures from the two countries in 20 years, the official said.


Malaysia enjoys the cordial and highly workable but firm geo-political relationship between ASEAN partners and other international forces with vested interest in the region. It is imperative that the nation maintain the neutrality and avoid trying to be seen as ‘leaning’ or even posses any tendencies to any of the superpowers trying to wrestle the bigger clout in the region.

Malaysia also maintain the strong ‘non violence’ principles, approach and more frequent consultations for resolving issues in the region, which include closer diplomatic relationship amongst ASEAN members and between the economic grouping with the member of ADMM-Plus forum.

Bernama report on Defense Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein’s take on the recently concluded ADMM-Plus forum in Brunei

ADMM Agrees To Pursue Non-violence Principle In Disputes

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 29 (Bernama) – The Asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) has agreed to pursue the non-violence principle in resolving disputes, especially in the South China Sea.Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said it also agreed to establish cooperation in cyber security and social media management.”The defence ministers also agreed to enhance defence ties and interaction between military and defence officials at all levels,” he said in a statement at the end of ADMM in Bandar Seri Bagawan, Brunei, Thursday.Other consensus reached was to address accountability for the ADMM 10th anniversary and explore cooperation in security and defence with partner countries.Hishammuddin also held bilateral talks with the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Laos and ADMM-PLUS members Australia and China.”Among those discussed were sharing of ideas and views on regional and international security issues, including what is happening in Egypt and Syria.”



However, the connotation on Malaysia’s position must be expressed in the purview of diplomacy. It is not adequate that only the military and diplomatic professionals understand what is going where else some of the errand media could manipulate and general public could easily misconstrued and make a totally adverse conclusion.

Defense Minister Hishamuddin has been described by military professionals as “An apt and able defense minister, very quick to adapt and high ability to grasp and understand prevailing issues. A very diplomatic leader”. Another military analyst remarked “Easily warm up to defense ministers. Be it (US Defense Secretary Chuck) Hagel or (China Defense Minsiter Wanquan) Chang”.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Kuala Lumpur, last Sunday

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishamuddin Hussein and US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Kuala Lumpur, last Sunday

In the recently concluded regional defense ministers (plus China and United States) forum ADMM-Plus in Brunei, 90% of the issues raised, discussed and special focus given is on the maritime issues. This is because the score of balancing between the multiple claims, international maritime law of the sea and geo-political interest of certain nations within the South China Sea.

The South China Sea is right in the middle between all of the ASEAN nations (with the exception of Myanmar and Laos) and the other ADMM-Plus members such as China and United States. It is one of the most busiest and strategic waterways in the world. All the ADMM-Plus members have strategic and vested interest in the South China Sea.

Hishamuddin took over from Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as the Defense Minister on 15 May and continued his predecessor’s work and policies. This include the role in the ADMM-Plus forum. The position of Malaysia in the perspective of maritime is very strategic and the cordial and strong working relationship either within ASEAN context and/or bi-lateral demonstrated Malaysia’s significant role in the region.

Xinhua report on the recently concluded ADMM-Plus:

Defense ministers vow to strengthen defense cooperation at ADMM-Plus | 2013-08-29 19:19:10 | Editor: Chen Zhi


Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan (R, front) attends a signing ceremony of the 2nd ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Bandar Seri Begawan, capital of Brunei, on Aug. 29, 2013. The 2nd ASEAN Defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus concluded here Thursday with the signing of the Bandar Seri Begawan Declaration, in which the ministers reaffirmed their commitment to enhance peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai) 

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) — Defense ministers from ASEAN and its regional dialogue partners on Thursday reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening defense cooperation in promoting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Brought together by the second ASEAN defense Ministers’ Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus), which concluded here Thursday, defense ministers reiterated the strategic importance of the ADMM-Plus and the need of closer cooperation.

The ADMM-Plus mechanism has played a major role in ushering a new wave of multilateralism among ASEAN and its dialogue partners, said Mohammad Yasmin Bin Umar, chairman of the second ADMM-Plus, who described the meeting as “a significant milestone” in the evolving security architecture of the region.

Firstly convened in Vietnam’s capital Hanoi on Oct. 12, 2010, the regional event has involved 18 member states, including ministers from the 10 ASEAN nations, as well as those from Australia, China, Japan, India, South Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

Practical cooperation and activities have been conducted among the defense forces of the ADMM-Plus countries since the event’s establishment, which have promoted understanding and improved interoperability of all member countries, according to the meeting.

On this basis, ministers agreed to further promote capacity- building through greater engagements and interactions, enhance interoperability through training and joint exercises, and establish mechanisms for effective response, said a statement issued after the meeting.

“We must continue to strive for securing the future of our peoples by responding effectively to current and future challenges and opportunities through the spirit of solidarity, compassion and collective responsibility,” said Yasmin, who is also Minister of Energy of Brunei Darussalam.

The ministers also agreed to establish practical measures that will reduce vulnerability to miscalculations, and avoid misunderstanding and undesirable incidents at sea, the statement said.

Asia-Pacific nations should take a route of pragmatic cooperation and shared prosperity and maintain common security through dialogues and negotiations, as well as increasing mutual trust, said Chinese State Councilor and Defense Minister Chang Wanquan at the meeting.

After the meeting, the ministers signed the Bandar Seri Begawan Joint Declaration of the second ADMM-Plus.

The third ADMM-Plus is scheduled to be held in Malaysia in 2015.


The two super-powers have been trying to flex their muscle and throw their weight around, to gain the psychological if not physical dominance in the region and particular the South China Sea. Malaysia’s neutrality means that the nation’s approach to both super-powers in the position of a friendly nation and earning significant respect.

In Defense Minister Hishamuddin’s own words “We are straddling between the US and China”.

However, it is unfortunate that all that are not transpired whenever he engages the media.

“Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies,” Hishammuddin said on the sidelines of meetings with counterparts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as well as the United States. The Chinese “can patrol every day, but if their intention is not to go to war” it is of less concern, he said. “I think we have enough level of trust that we will not be moved by day-to-day politics or emotions.”

Defense Minister Hishamuddin should not have said these in the connotation and context that he could be misquoted. Even if he was responding to a question. He must be mindful that some of these media have a premeditated agenda, serving their political masters.

The famous line between personal tutor Reginald Johnstone and His Majesty Chinese Emperor Aisin-Gioro Puyi “A gentleman will always say what he means and means what he said” comes to mind, when a statement is made by an official. The official must foremost be mindful of the diplomatic implication from how things are said and in the context that it was said.

Published in: on September 1, 2013 at 20:00  Comments (42)  

“WMD lie” re-run for another state act of international terrorism

President Barack H. Obama is convinced and very insistent that Syria must be attacked and bombed. The on going current excuse is that Syrian Forces used chemical weapons against its own people. He has resorted of getting congressional approval for the international illegal attack and crime against the sovereign government of Syria.

Obama says U.S. will take military action against Syria, pending Congress’s approval

Video: President Obama says the U.S. will take military action against Syria, but only with Congress’s approval.

By Ernesto Londoño, Updated: Sunday, September 1, 2:35 AM E-mail the writer

President Obama said Saturday that the United States has decided to use military force against Syria, calling last week’s alleged chemical weapons attack there “an attack on human dignity,” but said he would to seek congressional authorization for an attack.The announcement puts off an imminent cruise missile strike, a prospect that had put the region on edge and stoked intense debate in the United States, where many dread getting dragged into a new war. It is not clear what the Obama administration would do if Congress declines to authorize a military operation.

“We cannot and must not turn a blind eye to what happened in Damascus,” Obama said during an address at the Rose Garden. “This has implications beyond chemical warfare.”

Congress is in recess until Sept. 9, and it was not immediately clear whether lawmakers would try to convene earlier for an emergency vote. Leading lawmakers who had called on the administration to seek congressional approval were pleased by Obama’s announcement.

“At this point in our country’s history, this is absolutely the right decision, and I look forward to seeing what the administration brings forward and to a vigorous debate on this important authorization,” said Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.).

With five U.S. Navy destroyers deployed in the eastern Mediterranean, the Pentagon has been ready to strike for days, and appeared likely to remain on a war footing as the debate at home continues to unfold.

“We are prepared to strike whenever we choose,” Obama said. But he added that plans to launch an attack were “not time-sensitive” and that a strike could come “tomorrow, next week or a month from now.”

Obama’s remarks came as senior administration officials were making a fresh round of calls to congressional leaders Saturday in an effort to bolster support for a potential military strike, officials said.

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were among the administration officials expected to speak to key members of Congress on Saturday afternoon.

“We’re confident in our analysis that the United States and our allies can handle any contingencies that come as a result of military action should it be chosen by the president,” a senior U.S. official said.

Hagel, who returned to Washington on Friday night after a week-long trip to Asia, had substantive discussions with Obama, as well as with his French and Israeli counterparts, while on his way home, according to the official, who would discuss the administration’s efforts only on the condition of anonymity.

As key allies and members of Congress have raised concerns about and objections to U.S. military involvement in Syria’s messy civil war, the White House appears to be carefully weighing the risks of launching an attack that would likely be carried out with cruise missiles. The priority Saturday appeared to be bolstering support for the operation on Capitol Hill, where key members have expressed strong reservations and called on the White House to fully consult with Congress before authorizing a strike.

“We have a financial crisis in our military,” Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee, said in a statement Thursday after being briefed by an administration official. “Several members agreed with me that whatever is decided upon, it’s going to take military resources that are at decreased readiness levels due to a lack of funding.”

White House officials have said they are contemplating only a limited, brief strike and have pushed back on the contention that such a move could drag the United States into a new, prolonged conflict in the Middle East.


Obama claimed that they are ready to strike against Syria at any time and he also admitted that he is ready to commit the US Forces on the attack even without congressional approval and support.

This is unilateral attack is without any evidence being presented to the United Nations Security Council, let alone a resolution. The matter of fact the UN inspectors haven’t conclusively finished their investigations in Syria.

Reuters report:

U.N. experts prepare to leave Syria, chemical probe needs time

Related Video

U.N. vehicles, carrying United Nations chemical weapons experts, arrive at Yousef al-Azma military hospital in Damascus August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Khaled al-Hariri

By Louis Charbonneau

UNITED NATIONS | Fri Aug 30, 2013 4:49pm EDT

(Reuters) – A team of U.N. investigators has finished gathering evidence related to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in suburbs near Damascus last week, but will need time to complete its analysis, the world body said on Friday.

The announcement the U.N. inspectors will not be releasing their findings immediately came as Washington suggested the U.N. investigation would have no bearing on its decision about whether to attack Syria in retaliation for the alleged poison gas attack on civilians.

Russia, diplomats said, was hoping to use the time needed to complete the U.N. probe to slow down any push for air strikes.

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said the inspectors would be leaving Syria on Saturday but would return later to investigate several other alleged poison gas attacks that have taken place in Syria during the country’s 2-1/2-year civil war.

“The samples that have been collected will be taken to be analyzed in designated laboratories and the intention of course is to expedite the analysis of that sampling that’s been taken,” Nesirky said.

He offered no timeline for when that analysis would be completed, but said all samples would need to be fully analyzed.

“This is not an electoral process, where you have exit polls and preliminary results,” he said. “This is a scientific process. The only result that counts is the result of the analysis in laboratories and the analysis of the evidence that’s been collected through witness statements and so on.”

He was addressing reporters while U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was meeting with delegates from the five permanent U.N. Security Council members – Britain, ChinaFrance,Russia and the United States – to update them on the U.N. investigation in Syria. Envoys from the five countries gave no details of the meeting to reporters after it ended.

Ban cut short a visit to Europe amid concerns that Western powers are preparing military strikes against Syria to punish the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for the chemical attack. Assad’s government, like Syria’s ally Russia, blames the rebels for the attack.

France said on Friday it still backed military action to punish Assad’s government and Washington pushed ahead with plans for a response despite a British parliamentary vote against a military strike.

An unclassified report by U.S. intelligence agencies released on Friday said the attack killed 1,429 Syrian civilians, including 426 children.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday the U.N. experts could not provide the United States with anything it did not already know about the August 21 incident.

The U.N. inspectors’ mandate dictates they will only seek to determine whether chemical weapons were used, not who used them. Western diplomats said that limitation undermined the usefulness of the inspectors’ findings.

Shortly afterward, U.S. President Barack Obama blasted the U.N. Security Council for its “incapacity … to move forward in the face of a clear violation of international norms.”

Russia, backed by China, has used its veto power three times to block resolutions condemning Assad’s government and threatening it with sanctions.

U.N. diplomats said that Russia, anticipating military action against Syria soon, might call an emergency meeting of the 15-nation council over the weekend to urge countries to wait for the U.N. investigation results before making any decisions.

“Russia wants to use the Security Council and the time it takes to produce a report on the U.N. investigation to slow down the momentum toward action,” a Western diplomat told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

U.N. officials say the world body’s findings will be important because they will be widely seen as irrefutable, in contrast to doubts that arise with intelligence in light of the erroneous information on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs that was used to justify the 2003 invasion.

Asked about rumors that all the U.N. investigators had left Syria already, Nesirky said the experts were still there and would be departing on Saturday, although translators and some support staff had already left.

Earlier this week, Syria’s U.N. envoy asked the United Nations to order chemical experts in Damascus to investigate three rebel attacks in which he said Syrian troops “inhaled poisonous gas,” while Britain pushed for the Security Council to act on the crisis.

Nesirky said the team began an inquiry into those allegations on Friday.

“Today the mission visited a government military hospital in Damascus as part of its evaluation of information provided by Syria on that,” he said, adding that the investigators would continue investigating when they return to Syria.

The United States dismissed the appeal by Syria’s U.N. envoy, saying it had stonewalled the U.N. experts for months.

The United Nations has received at least 14 reports of possible chemical weapons use in Syria. After months of diplomatic wrangling, the U.N. experts, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, arrived in Syria on August 18 with a 14-day mandate to visit the country.

The U.N. team was initially going to look into three incidents, but its priority became last week’s incident.

(Additional reporting by Edith Honan; Editing by Christopher Wilson and Peter Cooney)


United Nations inspectors just arrived in Rotterdam, Netherland and it would be weeks before they could come up with a proper report on their findings.

The truth is that United Nations inspectors hastily left Syria in fear of an American unilateral attack against Damascus and this inadvertently opened a window of a military attack. A military intervention however illegal and criminal is eminent, despite the lack of legal proofs.

Two days ago British Prime Minister David Cameron lost the bid through Westminster Palace to get British MPs to support the agenda of attacking Syria. Even his own party’s Ministers and MPs did not support him.

30 August 2013 Last updated at 10:13 GMT

Syria crisis: Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action

David Cameron: “It is clear to me that the British parliament… does not want to see British military action”

MPs have rejected possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to deter the use of chemical weapons.

David Cameron said he would respect the defeat of a government motion by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes.

The US said it would “continue to consult” with the UK, “one of our closest allies and friends”.

France said the UK’s vote does not change its resolve on the need to act in Syria.

Russia – which has close ties with the Assad government – welcomed Britain’s rejection of a military strike.

The prime minister’s call for a military response in Syria followed a suspected chemical weapons attack on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on 21 August, in which hundreds of people are reported to have died.

The US and UK say the Assad government was behind the attack – a claim denied by Damascus, which blames the rebels.

Assad said Syria would defend itself against any aggression.

‘Harm relationship’

The UK government’s motion was in support of military action in Syria if it was backed up by evidence from United Nations weapons inspectors, who are investigating the attack.

They are due to finish their work on Friday and give their preliminary findings to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the weekend.

After the vote Prime Minster David Cameron said it was clear Parliament did not want action and “the government will act accordingly”.

Chancellor George Osborne told Radio 4’s Today programme there would now be “national soul searching about our role in the world”.

He added: “I hope this doesn’t become a moment when we turn our back on all of the world’s problems.”

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond had told BBC’s Newsnight programme that he and the prime minister were “disappointed” with the result, saying it would harm Britain’s “special relationship” with Washington.

But he said he did not expect Britain’s decision to “stop any action” by other countries.

Labour leader Ed Miliband said on Friday that the House of Commons had spoken “for the people of Britain”.

“People are deeply concerned about the chemical weapons attacks in Syria, but they want us to learn the lessons of Iraq,” he said.

“They don’t want a rush to war. They want things done in the right way, working with the international community.”

He said Britain “doesn’t need reckless and impulsive leadership, it needs calm and measured leadership”.

Ian Pannell: The victims “arrived like the walking dead”

Mr Miliband said Britain’s relationship with the US “remains strong” despite the vote. He said there is a lesson that Britain must do what is in its national interest, even if that means doing something different to America.

He also said that Mr Cameron must “find other ways” to put pressure on Mr Assad.

The result of the vote was condemned by former Liberal Democrat leader Lord Ashdown, who tweeted that in “50 years trying to serve my country I have never felt so depressed [or] ashamed”.

He later told the BBC that by doing nothing President Assad will use chemical weapons more “those weapons will become more commonplace in the Middle East battlefield” and “we will feel the effects of that as well”.

PM ‘diminished’

Thirty Conservative and nine Liberal Democrat MPs voted againstthe government’s motion.

The defeat comes as a potential blow to the authority of Mr Cameron, who had already watered down a government motion proposing military action, in response to Labour’s demands for more evidence of President Assad’s guilt.

Britain will not be involved in any military action that takes place in Syria, the chancellor has confirmed

The BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson said the prime minister had now lost control of his own foreign and defence policy, and as a result he will cut a diminished figure on the international stage.

He added that some strong advocates of the transatlantic relationship were worried that America may now question the value and reliability of Britain as an ally.

During the debate, Labour had seen its own amendment – calling for “compelling” evidence that the regime was responsible for chemical attacks – rejected by MPs by 114 votes.

But, unexpectedly, MPs also rejected the government’s motion.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander said the government defeat was down to the “fatally flawed” case put to MPs by Mr Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, claiming the pair’s credibility was now diminished.

‘The system works’

Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said so many of Mr Cameron’s own MPs had voted with Labour because they were now “unwilling to take him at his word”.

Conservative rebel Crispin Blunt said he hoped the vote would “relieve ourselves of some of this imperial pretension that a country of our size can seek to be involved in every conceivable conflict that’s going on around the world”.


The British public once were duped into beliveing then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lie in the British Parliament.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin is far from being convinced. Putin felt is is “Utter nonsense” for the Syrian Forces to use chemical weapons against their own people, in a civil war where they have the offensive upper hand and control.

BBC report on the subject matter:

31 August 2013 Last updated at 17:08 GMT

Russia’s Vladimir Putin challenges US on Syria claims

Obama statement

Russian President Vladimir Putin has challenged the US to present to the UN evidence that Syria attacked rebels with chemical weapons near Damascus.

Mr Putin said it would be “utter nonsense” for Syria’s government to provoke opponents with such attacks.

US President Barack Obama says he is considering military action against Syria after intelligence reports that 1,429 people were killed on 21 August.

UN weapons inspectors have now left Syria and arrived in the Netherlands.

They are taking the evidence they gathered during four days of site visits to the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons, in The Hague.

The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner examines what we know about the Syria attack on 21 August

The samples are thought to include soil, swabs from munitions, blood and hair from the victims and, experts say, possibly even flesh from dead bodies.

The UN has said its inspectors had been able to carry out a “wide range of fact-finding activities”. However, their mandate is limited to determining the use of chemical weapons and not who used them.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky refused to set a timeframe for the results of lab tests and the inspectors’ full report.

He described as “grotesque” the suggestion that the departure of inspectors from Syria “somehow opens the window for military action”.

The UN’s humanitarian work in Syria would continue, he said.

Obama statement

The US says hundreds of children were among those killed in the suspected chemical weapons attacks, which it blames on the Syrian government.

Syria says the US claim is “full of lies” and says rebels carried out the attacks.

Mr Obama is to make a statement on Syria at 17:15 GMT but will not announce any imminent military action, the White House says.

Senior officials are holding conference calls on Saturday about Syria with both Republican and Democratic senators.

Mr Obama said on Friday the US was planning a “limited, narrow” military response that would not involve “boots on the ground”.

Continue reading the main story

‘Trump card’

The inspectors’ departure from Syria removes both a practical and a political obstacle to the launch of US-led military action, correspondents say.

Continue reading the main story

At the scene

image of Jeremy BowenJeremy BowenBBC Middle East editor, Damascus

There are those in Syria who will cheer on the US action and those who will be quite worried by it, but I think everyone is making some preparation.

People are trying to buy what they can, stockpile things, get water, bread, food that lasts, because they don’t know what’s going to happen.

They don’t know what President Obama means by a limited attack and what consequences that may have for their lives and the degree to which it would stay limited.

The BBC’s Jeremy Bowen in Damascus says people are worried and are making preparations.

They do not know what Mr Obama meant by a limited attack and what consequences it will have, he adds.

Speaking to journalists in the Russian far-eastern city of Vladivostok, Mr Putin urged Mr Obama – as a Nobel Peace Prize laureate – to think about future victims in Syria before using force.

He said it was ridiculous to suggest the Syrian government was to blame for the attack, calling it a “provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict”.

“Syrian government troops are on the offensive and have surrounded the opposition in several regions,” he said.

“In these conditions, to give a trump card to those who are calling for a military intervention is utter nonsense.”

Russia’s Vladimir Putin challenges US on Syria claims

He said that the US failure to present evidence to the international community was “simply disrespectful”.

“If there is evidence it should be shown. If it is not shown, then there isn’t any,” he said.

The main findings of the unclassified US evidence state that:

  • the attack killed 1,429 people, including 426 children
  • Syrian military chemical weapons personnel were operating in the area in the three days before the attack
  • Satellite evidence shows rockets launched from government-held areas 90 minutes before the first report of chemical attack
  • 100 videos attributed to the attack show symptoms consistent with exposure to a nerve agent
  • Communications were intercepted involving a senior Damascus official who “confirmed chemical weapons were used” and was concerned about UN inspectors obtaining evidence

‘Completely unexpected’

Russia – a key ally of Syria – has previously warned that “any unilateral military action bypassing the UN Security Council” would be a “direct violation of international law”.

Moscow, along with China, has vetoed two previous draft resolutions on Syria.

Barack Obama: “We’re not considering any boots on the ground approach”

Mr Putin also expressed surprise at a vote in the British parliament on Thursday ruling out participation in military action.

“I will be honest: this was completely unexpected for me,” he said.

“This shows that in Great Britain, even if it is the USA’s main geopolitical ally in the world… there are people who are guided by national interests and common sense, and value their sovereignty.”

Meanwhile in France – seen as the main US ally since the UK vote – an opinion poll suggested that 64% opposed the use of force.

Neither France nor the US needs parliamentary approval for military action.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said his country will defend itself against any Western “aggression”.

Forces which could be used against Syria:

Syria map

Four US destroyers – USS Gravely, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Mahan – are in the eastern Mediterranean, equipped with cruise missiles. The missiles can also be fired from submarines, but the US Navy does not reveal their locations

Airbases at Incirlik and Izmir in Turkey, and in Jordan, could be used to carry out strikes

Two aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Harry S Truman are in the wider region

French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is currently in Toulon in the western Mediterranean

French Rafale and Mirage aircraft can also operate from Al-Dhahra airbase in the UAE


Putin had asked the Americans and Brits to produce credible evidence via the United Nation’s for the “Chemical weapons” claim.

Putin’s skepticism makes a lot of sense. The two have proven themselves to manufacture ‘evidence’, to warrant their illegal war actions. Just like the lie about “Possesion of Weapon of Mass Destruction” to warrant the attack against Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi forces slightly more than 10 years ago.

He committed the Russian Navy to check on the US and Royal Navies maneuvres in East Mediterranean, in anticipation of the attack against Syria.

Reuters report:

Russia sends warships to Mediterranean as Syria tension rises

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C) attends a conference at the main operation centre of the Russian armed forces, with Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu (L) and armed forces Chief-of-Staff Valery Gerasimov (R) in Moscow, June 6, 2013. REUTERS/Michael Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

By Timothy Heritage

MOSCOW | Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:59am EDT

(Reuters) – Russia is sending two warships to the east Mediterranean, Interfax news agency said on Thursday, but Moscow denied this meant it was beefing up its naval force there as Western powers prepare for military action against Syria.

Interfax quoted a source in the armed forces’ general staff as sayingRussia, Syria’s most powerful ally, was deploying a missile cruiser from the Black Sea Fleet and a large anti-submarine ship from the Northern Fleet in the “coming days”.

Any strengthening of the navy’s presence could fuel tension, especially as the United States has said it is repositioning naval forces in the Mediterranean following an alleged chemical weapons attack which is blames on Syrian government forces.

“The well-known situation now in the eastern Mediterranean required us to make some adjustments to the naval force,” the source said in a reference to the events in Syria.

It was not clear when the vessels would arrive but Interfax said the Moskva missile cruiser was currently in the North Atlantic and would set sail in the next few days.

President Vladimir Putin has said the naval presence is needed to protect national security interests and is not a threat to any nation. Russiacooperates with NATO navies against piracy and its ships call at Western ports.

The navy later indicated a deployment was imminent in the Mediterranean but gave no details except to say it would be part of a long-planned rotation and suggested it would not increase the size of Russian forces there.

“This is not a new group … but a planned rotation,” an highly-placed navy official who was not identified told state-run RIA news agency.

The reason for the discrepancy in the reports by Interfax and RIA was not clear but confusion has at times surrounded previous Russian deployments in the Mediterranean because of the secrecy involved. The Defence Ministry declined comment.

Washington accuses Syrian government forces of carrying out last week’s chemical weapons attack and has made clear it could soon launch a military strike.

Russia is one of Assad’s biggest arms suppliers. It opposes any military intervention in Syria and has shielded Damascus against further sanctions at the U.N. Security Council.

Defense experts said the deployment of the two warships identified by Interfax could give Assad early warning of cruise missile launches, particularly by submarine, or jam radars or navigation systems although they might never be used for this.

“What we may be seeing here is an example of gunboat diplomacy rather than a deliberate attempt to interfere directly in any coalition strike militarily,” said Lee Willett, editor of IHS Jane’s Navy International.

“The simple presence of any ships will have an impact politically, and that is the primary intent.”

Russia’s chief of staff said in June the navy had stationed 16 warships and three ship-based helicopters in the Mediterranean, its first permanent naval deployment there since Soviet times.

(Additional reporting by Peter Apps in London, editing by Elizabeth Piper)


The United States and the West, which include United Kingdom have been supporting the Free Syrian Army rebels right from the start. Now, it seems that they would be irectly arm in their quest to topple President Bashar Al-Assad.

Wahington Post report:

Free Syrian Army likely to get US arms: Who is this rebel group?

The Free Syrian Army’s extremism ties and loose command are alarming since it may receive arms from the United States. Photo: Associated Press
Tuesday, June 25, 2013 – EMEA Watch by Tiffany Shorter

NEW YORK, June 25, 2013 — The Free Syrian Army (FSA), which received nonlethal US support in the past, may soon get American arms to help oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from office.

Last Friday, the FSA confirmed it received a shipment of weapons after reports that Saudi Arabia, a U.S. ally, sent arms to rebels last week. In late May, Senator John McCain visited FSA leaders to gain a better understanding of the situation on the ground. These events signal that the FSA may be armed in the future by the White House, but its loose command structure, implementation of Sharia law and extremist fighters on the ground are causes for concern.

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The White House has provided no details on which opposition groups will receive military assistance from the United States. General Salem Idriss is the head of the FSA’s representative leadership body, the Syrian Military Command (SMC), and says he is waiting to hear from Washington.

The FSA is a network of independent local grassroots militias under the SMC. Instead of the SMC acting as a management unit, it serves the FSA as a tactical coordinator to plan operations and pool resources. General Salim Idriss is left with playing a role of a consensus figure, which does not align with the ultimate goal of the SMC becoming Syria’s new official military.

The decentralized model of the FSA has allowed the organization to grow across Syria. During the beginning of the civil war, individuals with arms had the freedom of calling themselves FSA fighters, which advanced the movement to overthrow Assad. Although most FSA fighters are former soldiers of Assad and not civilians, the structure of an independent network of militias no longer forwards the goals of the rebels who need greater creditability to receive foreign weapons assistance and become a legitimate military force. Unlike a militia, an effective military organization needs a strong centralized chain of command.

The SMC was created by FSA commanders in response to the need of a unified front in December 2012. Rebels envision that the SMC will become the defense arm of the National Coalition of the Revolution and Opposition Forces (Syrian Coalition) who is positioning itself to replace the Assad government. The Syrian Coalition is officially recognized by the United States as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people. This acknowledgement should not be confused with America expressing that the Syrian Coalition is the present government of Syria.

SEE RELATED: Arming Syrian rebels: Obama’s tactic of limited impact and involvement

In some parts of Syria, FSA forces are accused of having the same lack of moral depth or respect for humanity as Assad. In Homs, rebel forces retaliated against attacks committed by Shabiha, a pro-Assad civilian militia, by torturing and murdering Shabiha suspects and their family members. In Aleppo, Syria’s industrial and financial capital, the FSA established a Sharia legal system – a strict Islamic moral and religious code of conduct. Veteran activist, Wael Ibrahim, in March committed a Sharia violation when he threw aside a banner that contained a Muslim declaration of faith. In accordance to Sharia law, Ibrahim was sentenced to 10 lashes with a metal pipe.

The FSA also admits that within its ranks are jihadist militants and some fighters with ties to al-Qaeda. One of the SMC’s goals is to reduce extremism by: urging the FSA to uphold the Geneva Conventions; imposing that commanders abide by the age requirements on new recruits; and cutting off groups from military and nonlethal assistance who break SMC’s rules.

According to the Congressional Research Service report titled “Armed Conflict in Syria: U.S. and International Response”, General Idriss does not have operational control over all of SMC affiliated units. The report also claims, “Within the Syrian opposition, he is considered more of a political figure than a respected military commander.” The loyalty of the commanders and rebel groups is secured by Idriss because he regularly requests for outside assistance for materials and funding.

The report was issued on June 14, the day after Washington promised to arm the insurgency.

Idriss is a former general of the Assad regime, he has the experience and capability to develop the military hierarchy needed to fuse the FSA into a cohesive body that follows SMC’s authority. Given the reports that the CIA has been secretly training rebels, the White House may want to provide strategic leadership training to the SMC. Weapons assistance alone will not ensure peace and democracy in Syria’s future. The more involved Washington gets in Syria, the greater responsibility America will have to guide the SMC into becoming a stronger, but more religiously moderate organization.

Tiffany Shorter is a foreign and economic policy analyst.

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It is evidently that the Free Syiran Army rebels are losing. The Neo Con Jewish agenda of staging an uprising against Al-Assad via the regional ‘Arab Spring’ almost three years ago  failed. The civil war also failed and now the rebels are waning.

The Neo Con Jewish lobbyists within the corridors of Washington D. C. and Westminster and their agenda out to destroy President Al Assad’s government has not progressed. In fact, the initiative is actually dying.

Along with Iran, these are the last two Hamas’ supporting nations which are direct threats to the Zionist Israelis.

Obama’s excuse that the attack is for the pursuit against the fight of international terrorism. A criminal attack against Syrian Forces is by far a state’s tactical act of international terrorism where it is actually US Forces’s national as a country which is committing the heinous act against humanity.

He also attacked the UN Security Council as being “Paralysed”. Then again this is not US’s first unilateral attack and criminal use of deadly force. not sanctioned by the UN. in October 1983, US Navy and Marines attacked and invaded Grenada. In December 1989, Panama. In August 1998, it was against Afghanistan and Sudan.

In 2002, Bush committed US Forces invasion of Afghanistan. In March 2003, US Forces and invaded Iraq.

The more recent criminal use of deadly military force was the attack against Libya. The attack on Libyan Forces saw the toppling of Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime. Since 2002, US forces have used drones and cruise missiles to bomb facilities in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

All in the excuse of “War against tyranny and state sponsored international terrorism”.

The terrible inconsistency is that in the past it was the Americans who vetoed against UN Security Council’s resolution against Israel for atrocities they have committed against the Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and South Lebanese. Mor eoften then not, against unarmed and non combatant and civilian population.

This unilateral criminal attack against Syria would just defer any initiative for the West Asian peace process between the Zionist Isarelis, Palestinians and immediate neighbours taken a few steps backwards. It is actually what the Neo Con Jews wanted, to allow more room and time for making the hand over of land occupied by the Zionists after the June 1967 war unattainable.

Published in: on September 1, 2013 at 04:00  Comments (7)