World View: Russia, U.S. Trade Accusations as Ukraine Issues Ultimatum

World View: Russia, U.S. Trade Accusations as Ukraine Issues Ultimatum

This morning’s key headlines from

  • Syrian army defector explains why Assad regime uses chlorine chemical weapons
  • Russia and U.S. trade accusations as Ukraine issues ultimatum
  • Abdullah Abdullah leads in Afghanistan vote count

Syrian army defector explains why Assad regime uses chlorine chemical weapons

As we reported yesterday,there was a new poison gas attack on a rebel-held, apparentlyby Syrian government warplanes. It’s assumed that the poisongas attack was under the orders of Syria’s genocidal monsterpresident, Bashar al-Assad, but the al-Assad regime blamesthe attack on rebels.

Zaher al Saket was a Brigadier General in al-Assad’s army until hedefected last year. He explains why chlorine gas was used, and howonly the Syrian regime has the ability to use chemical weapons, in aninterview on Sunday with al-Jazeera (my transcription):

“I was given the order by my immediate commander touse chemical weapons in August of last year. These weapons arevery toxic, but not deadly. I exchanged these weapons. I gave myofficers non-effective elements of these weapons. They used thembecause they thought they are deadly.

When they started to investigate the matter, I decided to defect.In order to use the chemical weapons, you need to have the realeffective elements, and the platform to use them.

The Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Battalions don’t have thetools. They don’t have any artillery. They don’t have anymissiles.

Why has the regime resorted to using chlorine mixed with cyanidein the latest chemical attacks? Because they can’t be easilydiscovered, even if the monitoring mission arrives 48 hours later.That’s why only those who have been affected is the onlyevidence.”

Al-Zaket gave an interview last year when he defected:

Zaker Al-Saket: “There are three types of chemical weapons:harassing chemical agents, incapacitating agents, and lethalagents. When the demonstrations started, the regime used harassingagents, like any country in the world using tear gas to dispersedemonstrations. As for incapacitating and lethal chemical agents -the regime used incapacitating agents at first, but when the worldremained silent about this, and the regime thought that theinternational community did not care, it used lethal [chemical]weapons in more than 13 locations. The last incident was inUtaybah. The regime used sarin gas on three occasions, and I amincreasingly afraid that they will use agents more powerful thansarin. They have VX gas and mustard gas, also known as iprit. …

The regime’s accusation that the opposition has used chemicalweapons is the most compelling proof that the regime itself hasused them, because the opposition does not have the means to usechemical weapons. The means of using chemical weapons are known tothe whole world: airplanes, missiles, helicopters, andartillery. Worst still, this regime has binary chemicalweapons. The world must understand that there are binary chemicalweapons in Syria, and [Bashar Al-Assad] will use them against hispeople, because he is the Nero of our age.”

As we described yesterday, theUnited Nations inspection team wrote a report proving that al-Assadwas guilty of last August’s sarin attack. The team did notspecifically blame al-Assad, because they were not permitted to do so,but the report contained technical data that proved to outside expertsthat the rockets were launched from a Syrian Republican Guard unit.Memri (4/29/2013)

Russia and U.S. trade accusations as Ukraine issues ultimatum

In three cities in east Ukraine, Ukrainian security forces areexchanging fire with pro-Russian protesters, who may be Russian-paidmilitants, causing several casualties. Ukraine’s government in Kievhas issued an ultimatum to the pro-Russian protesters to stand down byMonday morning (by 11 pm ET Sunday), or face a “large-scaleanti-terrorist operation” by Ukraine’s armed forces. Ukraine’s actingpresident, Oleksandr Turchynov, said, “We will not allow Russia torepeat the Crimean scenario in the eastern regions of Ukraine.” Thisis assumed to mean that Turchynov will act to prevent Russia fromannexing eastern Ukraine as it’s already annexed Crimea.

Russia and the U.S. are blaming each other for the escalating conflictin eastern Ukraine.

According to Russia’s Foreign Ministry, it’s the responsibility of theUnited States and other Western nations to “stop the civil war”:

“The Kiev authorities, who self-proclaimed themselvesas a result of a coup, have embarked on the violent militarysuppression of the protests. Blood has already been spilled asthe result of such actions in the South East. …

It depends on the West now to stop the civil war in Ukraine. …

The western sponsors of the Maidan [Kiev] government, especiallythose who witnessed the Agreement [of 21 February] and are backedby the US, have to curb their out of control wards, they have tomake them break away from the neo-Nazis and otherextremists.”

According to a statement issued by the U.S. State Dept. on Sunday:

“Russia continues to spin a false and dangerousnarrative to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The Russianpropaganda machine continues to promote hate speech and inciteviolence by creating a false threat in Ukraine that does notexist. We would not be seeing the violence and sad events thatwe’ve witnessed this weekend without this relentless stream ofdisinformation and Russian provocateurs fostering unrest ineastern Ukraine. Here are 10 more false claims Russia is using tojustify intervention in Ukraine, with the facts that theseassertions ignore or distort.”

The statement goes on to describe proof that Russian agents are activein Ukraine, that Russian internet sites are open recruiting Russiancitizens to travel to Ukraine to incite violence, and that in factthere is no spiraling civil war in Ukraine, and there wouldn’t be anyconflict at all if it hadn’t been for Russian provocations. Thestatement goes on to point out that there are 35,000-40,000 Russiantroops massed along the border with Ukraine, in addition toapproximately 25,000 troops currently in Crimea. AP and U.S. State Dept. and Russia Today

Abdullah Abdullah leads in Afghanistan vote count

In last weekend’s Afghanistan election, results based on 10% of votesfrom 26 out of 34 provinces showed Abdullah Abdullah with 41.9% andWestern-leaning academic Ashraf Ghani second with 37.6%. A thirdcandidate, Zalmay Rassoul, backed by two of Karzai’s brothers, trailedfar behind with 9.8%.

Correction: Yesterday’s reportsaid that Abdullah is Hazara. Actually, he’s mixed Tajik and Pashtun.Reuters

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