The United Nations weapons inspectors report on the August 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus has become a propaganda festival for the Western powers, including the United States.
Since the U.S. and Russia reached their deal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpile, the report will have little impact on military action or sanctions against Syria. Even if there is a definitive finding that the Syrian government is responsible for the attacks, the U.S. has agreed to forego any military strikes as a result of the disarmament deal. (Image)
The real story concerns the risks of calamitous military conflict erupting in the Middle East through accident or miscalculation. More on that shortly but first, here is a quick summary of the credibility of the UN.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon leaks results of report on September 13
Actually, Ki-moon couldn't leak the results of the report at a widely reported private speech on September 13 because, as he said at the time, he hadn't seen it. But the message was clear. Syria was the culprit.
Within the space of two minutes, Ki-moon said that the Syrian regime had committed "many crimes against humanity," that there would ben an accounting "when everything was over," and the inspector's document would be "an overwhelming report." USA Today and the Washington Post took the words to mean that the UN Secretary General had signaled a negative finding against Syria. (See video of Ki-moon 34:00-37:00)
The original intent of the UN investigation was to determine the nature of the attack, not to assign blame. Just few days before the report was to be delivered, the highest UN official strongly implied the results of this unissued report (Inner City Press, September 13). He was either fabricating the conclusion or, if he'd actually reviewed the report, violating procedures allowing a fair and accurate assessment of the results by selective leaking prior to a full presentation.
The report will say that a chemical weapons attack took place. It may say that sarin gas was used and it may comment on shells used and where they came from. But, even if the report lays blame on the Syrian government, it will have no effect because a deal has been done to move beyond a U.S. strike.
UN credibility in shreds after Harvard JFK School report on lies leading up to Libya
A report from the Belfer Center of the JFK School of Government at Harvard University corrected the record on the Libyan intervention. Report author Alan Kuperman noted: the Libyan uprising was violent from the start; Gadaffi did not indiscriminate force against civilians; and, the conflict would have ended in six weeks with less than 1000 dead were it not for UN intervention.
UN action authorizing Western intervention in Libya was based on one half day's private debate without investigation of any type and a voice vote by the Human Rights Council. In less than eight hours, the basis was laid for UN Security Council action that resulted in a devastating military conflict.
Libya is a disaster (The Independent, September 3). The country no longer produces oil. It is a lawless where armed gangs prevail. The economy is in a shambles. That is what the UN delivered in Libya.
We may not know with certainty the source of the chemical weapons attack on civilians near Damascus on August 21. However, we do know that a leak-happy Secretary General and the shocking expose of abject failures in Libya compromise UN credibility.
The real story about Syria - military posturing threatens global catastrophe
Dr. Strangelove cruising near Syria
Israel conducted a test of a missile defense system on September 3. For days prior to that, President Obama had been threatening to fire missiles from U.S. Naval vessels in the Mediterranean Sea.