Following closely on the heels of the brutal beheading of American journalists by ISIS, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has expressed doubts that Syria disposed of all of their chemical weapons following the deal brokered by the Russians after last year’s ‘red line’ debacle. Syria is the home base for the Islamic State.
Samantha Powers, the United States ambassador to the UN and president of the Security Council, raised concerns after a report from Sigrid Kaag, the UN official coordinating the disarmament and destruction of the Syrian chemical weapon stockpiles. Officially, the UN has declared that 96% of Syria’s chemical weapons have been destroyed, but she told UN web TV there are “discrepancies or questions” about the accounting process. Ms. Kaag also said that Syria has yet to destroy or dismantle seven hangers and five tunnels used for the creation and storage of the weapons.
Ambassador Powers, speaking to the UN Security Council, said, “We are concerned… that extremist terrorist groups who have committed some of the most vile acts just in the last few days before our very eyes and who have terrorized everyone they come into contact with in Syria and Iraq, that these weapons, or weapon stocks, if they are left, could fall into their hands.”
The concern for chemical weapons being acquired by ISIS is a clear threat. Imagine, if you will, the damage that could be caused by using chlorine gas, which is not on the chemical weapons ban list, on parts of the civilian population of Iraq or as an attack on U.S. forces currently protecting American assets in the Middle East. Weapons inspectors have found that chlorine gas was used in Syria this year.
“Certainly, if there are chemical weapons left in Syria, there will be a risk,” Powers added. “And we can only imagine what a group like that would do if in possession of such a weapon.”
As bad as this is, it comes just weeks after President Obama declared that the Syrian chemical stockpiles were eliminated. “Today we mark an important achievement in our ongoing effort to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction by eliminating Syria’s declared chemical weapons stockpile.”
This has been a week of foreign policy gaffes by the administration. From not having a plan to dealing with ISIS, to promising that NATO will fund and find a force of soldiers and equipment to contain Russia when only four out of 28 members are spending 2% of their GDP on defense. The only European country that meets that requirement is Great Britain.
The ‘mission accomplished’ moments for this administration just keep on coming. Interestingly enough, George Bush never said it, the banner behind him had the words printed on it, but what he said was, “…major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.”
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