Executive Intelligence Review


Tillerson Blames Russia as ‘Ultimately Responsible’ for Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria

Jan. 24, 2018 (EIRNS)—Reflecting the confrontational stance against Russia which Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decried on Jan. 22, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson yesterday accused Russia of being “ultimately responsible” for alleged Syrian government chemical attacks in East Ghouta on Monday, and charged that Russia had breached its commitment to the United States as a framework guarantor of the 2013 agreement by which both the U.S. and Russia would verify full elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

Tillerson was speaking from Paris at the official launching of the new International Partnership Against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons, an initiative of the French government. He complained that Russia had twice vetoed UN Security Council resolutions to enforce the Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM)—an entity Russia has said is politically biased and corrupt—to continue its mandate.

Thus, Tillerson concluded, Russia’s failure to resolve the chemical weapons issue in Syria “calls into question its relevance to the resolution to the overall [Syria] crisis.” He demanded that Moscow stop vetoing, “or at least abstain,” from future UN Security Council votes on this issue.

Naturally, the U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley had to deliver her rant against Russia and Syria from the UN, excoriating Russia for “killing” the JIM, which she said shows that Russia “thinks the use of chemical weapons is acceptable.”

Moscow’s response was immediate. As reported by TASS, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tillerson’s remarks were “absolutely unacceptable” and that “on this basis, we cannot work with the United States.” He stated he hoped Washington would be able to “cool down,” and perhaps get used to accurately perceive “what is happening around it, including the proposals from the Russian side.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov made statements today that “we categorically disagree with the approach employed by the Americans, who have actually swept under the rug any real probe into previous cases of chemical weapons use.”

Russia has repeatedly criticized the JIM for arriving at conclusions about chemical attacks in Syria without ever visiting the actual site of an attack, instead following its own pre-established political agenda. Russia’s Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia reported on Tuesday that Russia is circulating a draft UN Security Council resolution proposing the creation of a new independent body—the United Nations Independent Mechanism of Investigation (UNIMI)—with a one-year mandate, to establish actual facts about incidents of chemical weapons use in Syria, which will operate “on the basis of scrupulous and incontes table evidence received by means of transparent and reliable methods.”