print
memri
July 5, 2017 No.
6993

Russia's Reactions To Press Secretary Spicer's Warning That Syrian Regime Was Preparing Another Chemical Attack

The following is an overview of official reactions in Russia to the White House press office's statement, warning that the Syrian government is preparing to launch a chemical weapons attack.[1] Russia denounced the statement and the appended American warning and charged that the statement was meant to justify in advance American attacks on Syria.


White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer (Source: Indianexpress.com)

Image result for white house press syria chemical

(Source: Twitter.com/PressSec)

Russian Foreign Ministry: The WH's Statement Is Nothing But An 'Invitation' For Terrorists To Fabricate Another Provocation With The Use Of Chemical Weapons

Commenting on a White House's statement about evidences of the preparation of chemical attacks by the Syrian government, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated:

"We could not but notice a sensational June 26, 2017 statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer that the U.S. has 'identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children.' The U.S. side warns that Bashar al-Assad 'and his military will pay a heavy price' for this.

"U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley has gone even further and tweeted on her account that 'any further attacks done to the people of Syria will be blamed on Assad, but also on Russia and Iran who support him killing his own people.'

"It appears that Ms. Haley is once again referring to the April 4, 2017 Khan Shaykhun chemical attack which is relentlessly ascribed to the Syrian Government without any evidence whatsoever.

"We perceive all these new insinuations regarding weapons of mass destruction - made in the worst traditions of the 2003 NATO intervention in Iraq - as nothing but an 'invitation' for terrorists, extremists and armed opposition units active in Syria to fabricate another large-scale provocation with the use of chemical weapons. Washington expects to follow up with inevitable punishment for Bashar al-Assad after this provocation. This scenario has been repeatedly used with regard to Iraq, Yugoslavia, Libya and also other countries too. Unfortunately, although many officials in Washington have admitted their unacceptable and really tragic past mistakes, it appears that the Washington establishment still fails to draw any practical conclusions from this.

"It is not hard to predict the subsequent actions of the United States and its supporters on the 'Syrian chemical file.' This issue will once again become extremely politicized at The Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN Security Council in New York City, and it will be suggested that sanctions and resolutions be adopted with regard to the legitimate Syrian authorities. In the next few days, the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission in Syria will present its final report confirming the use of sarin in Khan Shaykhun. Therefore it appears that no one in the West will expect the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) that has been established for these purposes to completely investigate this episode. Damascus’ 'guilt' in such crimes is being presented as something incontestable, these allegations are politically motivated and JIM’s formal findings on this matter hardly play a decisive role.

"Russia will continue to demand a full-fledged professional and politically unbiased investigation of the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, as well as other manifestations and relapses of 'chemical' terrorism in Syria and Iraq, as required by the 2016 UN Security Council Resolution 2319 on extending the mandate of the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) in Syria for another 12 months, on expanding its area of operations and anti-terrorist aspects. This is the only way to learn the truth, and it is impossible to accomplish this task on the basis of fake evidence of Damascus’ alleged guilt fabricated by terrorists, extremists and opposition members with foreign sponsors and NGOs 'sympathizing' with them.

"Speaking of Washington’s bellicose rhetoric, we deem it necessary to warn our American colleagues against subsequent irresponsible actions in violation of the UN Charter and generally recognized norms of international law, as has been the case during the April 7, 2017 missile strike against Syria’s Shayrat air base. If, as Mr. Spicer claims, U.S. military presence in Iraq and Syria aims to fight terrorism, then US actions in this respect should fully conform to the anti-terrorist nature of the international community’s tasks to defeat ISIS and affiliated groups."

(Mid.ru, June 28, 2017)

Russia' FM Lavrov: The U.S. Creates Pretexts For New Attacks On The Syrian Government

Russian Foreign Ministry Sergey Lavrov stated: "I expect that this time, the United States will take into account the need to actually ensure the non-proliferation of chemical weapons and will refrain from speculating on some intelligence data, which is secret so no one may see it, in order to provoke others and create pretexts for new attacks on the Syrian government troops fighting against terrorists."

(Tass.com, June 28, 2017)

Russian Foreign Ministry’s Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said: "In 2013 the provocation with the alleged use of chemical weapons was a pretext for the West’s direct intervention in Syria. Only Russia’s decisive position saved the situation…  In April 2017, after the alleged incident with the use of chemical weapons in Syria’s Khan Shaykhun, the current U.S. administration did not make any surprise and dusted off the 2013 scenario [on intervention in Syria] delivering a strike on a sovereign state…The current information campaign is a precursor of a new intervention in Syria… The scenario will be the same: an incident occurs on a territory controlled by gunmen and civilians become victims. The so-called opposition - that means Jihadists, who in fact do not differ much from the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, but who get assistance from the U.S. and its allies - will announce another 'crime of the regime'."

(Tass.com, June 29, 2017)

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said: "Yesterday, we warned [the U.S.] at the foreign affairs minister level. The warning was sent. The [Russian] Ministry of Foreign Affairs has published a commentary on the issue. The permanent U.S. representative to the UN [Nikki Haley] said yesterday that the U.S. warnings worked and therefore Damascus did not strike, but I would like to believe that it was the Russian warning that worked and therefore [it was] the Americans, who did not strike [Syria]."

(Ria.ru, June 29, 2017)

Senator Kosachev: The U.S. May Be Plotting A Strike Against Syria

Head of Russia’s Federation Council International Affairs Committee Konstantin Kosachev said that the White House's statements "are particularly frightening in terms of Washington’s own plans." He then added: "The U.S. can be aware of plans for another chemical weapons attack (as well as of the fact that it will by no means be carried out by Damascus), but in that case, that would untie the terrorists' hands, because the culprits have been named in advance. America could also be preparing its own preemptive strike against Syrian troops and plays on an issue that has already been promoted globally, and so, any preventive actions will be justified."

Stressing that the WH's statement is" blatant demagoguery," Kosachev added: "Washington comes across as extremely reprehensible… It can be aware of the upcoming attack and is not trying to prevent it, but [seeks to] pin the blame for it on the Syrian leader in advance. It could also be that the U.S. is trying to hoodwink the global public with another 'test tube containing some white powder' [a reference to the vial that former American Secretary of State Colin Powell displayed to the UNSC to justify the accusation that Saddam Hussein was developing chemical weapons] to justify its own acts of aggression."

(Tass.com, June 27, 2017)

Igor Korotchenko, editor in chief of "National Defense Journal" and a military expert, said: "Of course, this is coarse propaganda, but its danger consists of laying some sort of ideological pretext [to justify] the new American strikes against Syrian troops and Shayrat airbase specifically… The situation, concerning delivering new possible strikes against Syrian government forces and objects, underline the U.S. unwillingness to support the peace reconciliation efforts in Syria, and this therefore poses a real danger for peace and stability in the Middle East."

(Ria.ru, June 29, 2017)

 

 

[1] See CNN, June 27, 2017.