How Russia Neutered Obama’s Chemical Weapons Response

An effort by the Obama administration to reinforce the powers of U.N. chemical weapons inspectors in Syria Wednesday evening foundered in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition in the U.N. Security Council, according to council diplomats.

In the end, the most strenuous provisions of the American draft were stripped out during closed-door negotiations with Russia and China. Instead, the 15-nation council issued a milder statement that made no reference to today’s alleged chemical weapons attack. The council merely expressed “a strong concern” about “the allegations [of chemical weapons use] and the general sense there must be clarity on what happened.” The statement also did little to strengthen the inspector’s mandate, but simply “welcomed the determination of the [U.N.] secretary general to ensure a thorough, impartial and prompt investigation.”

Clearly miffed, National Security Advisor Susan Rice took to Twitter to declare that the “Syrian government must allow the UN access to the attack site to investigate. Those responsible will be held accountable.”


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