In first statement, Israel urges end to ‘Assad’s systematic murder’

Shlomo Cesana, Daniel Siryoti and The Associated Press, ISRAEL HAYOM

Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor urges the international community to stop the bloodshed in Syria, says President Assad has no moral authority to govern • U.S. says it is closely monitoring Syria’s stockpiles of chemical arms and portable anti-aircraft missiles.

While normally shying away from official statements concerning the 11-month Syrian uprising, Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Ron Prosor on Monday urged the international community to stop the bloodshed in Syria, telling the General Assembly that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has “no moral authority to govern.”

Prosor told the assembly that the graphic pictures emerging from Syria and the reports of bloodshed cannot be ignored. The U.N. estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the 11-month-long uprising that aims to topple Assad’s regime and seeks reform.

“These pictures of helplessness in the face of death serve as a moral call to every person and every nation in the world,” Prosor said. “Nowhere is that call more clear than here at the United Nations, which was founded primarily to safeguard the principles of human rights, dignity and life.”

Prosor went on to say that Assad is “systematically murdering civilians…and his tanks are trampling on the rights of peaceful protestors. His forces are raping and torturing men, women and children.

“Bashar-al Assad may have been trained as an eye doctor, but in practice he only tries to blind the international community to the crimes of his regime,” Prosor told the assembly. “The international community can no longer afford to see the situation in Syria with anything less than 20/20 vision.”

The Israeli envoy implored the international community “to stop standing on the sidelines watching murder after murder.”

Assad and his regime have no moral authority to govern, Prosor said. “It is high time for this organization to start doing something meaningful to stop him from killing his own people. The children of Syria – from Homs to Hama – cry out to us. Their fate is in our hands.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. and its allies are closely monitoring Syria’s stockpiles of chemical arms and portable anti-aircraft missiles, a State Department official said, amid concerns that the country’s unconventional weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist or militant groups while the uprising continues.

“Syria is a country of significant proliferation concern, so we monitor its chemical weapons activities very closely,” the State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence-related matters. “We believe Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile remains under Syrian government control, and we will continue to work closely with like-minded countries to impede proliferation [of] Syria’s chemical weapons program.”

The official added that the U.S. is in discussion with its allies on ways to ensure that Syria’s stockpile of portable anti-aircraft missiles, called Man-Portable Air Defense Systems, or MANPADS, aren’t stolen or diverted. “We are consulting with allies and partners as we plan for a variety of contingencies,” the official said.

Republicans in Congress, meanwhile, have been critical of U.S. efforts to secure Libya’s chemical and unconventional arsenals, saying the Obama administration should have responded more quickly during that crisis and now faces the task of trying to account for thousands of missing portable anti-aircraft missiles.

“We got off to a slow start with Libya,” Rep. Edward Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on terrorism, nonproliferation and trade, said in a recent interview.

Libya halted its weapons of mass destruction programs in 2003 as part of an agreement reached to improve relations with the West. Moammar Gadhafi’s remaining stocks of mustard gas were awaiting destruction when rebels drove him from power last year.

Gadhafi, however, maintained a large conventional arsenal, including an estimated 20,000 portable anti-aircraft missiles, believed to be the largest stockpile outside of a MANPADS-producing country.

Syria is believed to have nerve agents as well as mustard gas, Scud missiles capable of delivering these lethal chemicals and a variety of advanced conventional arms coveted by insurgent and terrorist groups, including some late-model MANPADS and anti-tank rockets. U.S. intelligence officials in the past have said Syria has conducted biological weapons-related research but have stopped short of saying the country had taken the next step and built bioweapons.

The task of securing Syrian President Bashar Assad’s arsenals is complicated by the fact that the U.S. can’t be certain it knows how many weapons Syria has and where they are stored. “There’s a lot to worry about and oftentimes very little information to assess the situation,” said Matthew Schroeder, a small arms researcher with the Federation of American Scientists.

According to independent military experts, Syria had more than 4,000 portable anti-aircraft missiles in the late 2000s. But Syria is a major customer of arms suppliers, including Russia, and could have purchased many more since then.

Israel and its allies long have suspected Syria of seeking at least the capacity to build atomic weapons, and the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has pressed for information about Syria’s nuclear research program. But a 2007 airstrike, attributed to Israel in the international press, on a suspected plutonium-producing reactor under construction in northern Syria may have derailed Syria’s nuclear ambitions.

Israeli officials this month said their main worry is that Syria’s Lebanese ally, the militant Iranian-backed Shiite Muslim group Hezbollah, could acquire Syria’s Soviet-design S-125 surface-to-air missile systems, which could hinder operations by the Israel Air Force. But Israeli officials also said they were concerned Hezbollah could get its hands on chemical weapons and missiles capable of striking deep inside Israel.

Syria’s chemical arms are believed to be secure for now because they are stored at weapons depots in rural areas, officials and experts say, away from the urban centers where most fighting is now taking place.

“So far at least I don’t think we’ve seen any examples among troops that are guarding these sites or any activities to suggest the chain of command is weakening,” said Leonard Spector, a former senior nonproliferation official with the National Nuclear Security Administration. “I think what people are worried about is that the situation could become increasingly chaotic and the chain of command breaks down.”

But if Syria’s control of its arsenal collapses, he said, the consequences could be worse than in Libya. “It’s a hundred times more serious in Syria,” he said.

Andrew Shapiro, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, said this month that the U.S. has helped recover 5,000 of Libya’s portable anti-aircraft missiles, or about a quarter of the number the Gadhafi government is thought to have amassed.

Shapiro said many of the weapons that have not been accounted for were likely used in training, had broken down or were fired by rebels while fighting the regime. A substantial number probably remain in the hands of militias who defeated Libyan government forces and were often the first to “liberate” weapons sites, he said.

“Yet clearly we cannot rule out that some weapons may have leaked out of Libya,” Shapiro said in a talk to the Stimson Center, a Washington nonproliferation group.

The U.S. plans to spend $40 million helping Libya secure and recover its stockpiles of portable anti-aircraft weapons, Shapiro said. The U.S. also will conduct an inventory of all Libyan weapons storage areas and has two mobile teams assigned to respond to the discovery of new portable missile caches, he added.

Royce and other Republican lawmakers said that if Syria’s arsenals are threatened, the Obama administration should move faster than it did in Libya to secure unconventional weapons.

February 15, 2012 | 10 Comments »

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  1. I fail to see how an artificial united front around a leader whose policies not only endanger Jews but the state as well. Support for them in your context can be construed by them and or Israels existential enemies as favorable support and lead them on to even more dangerous policies and actions.

  2. Yamit

    Listen

    Just state here your political position on Proser and Netanyahu in the UN. As I have.

    What should be the position of Israel and Zionism towards Assad and what is happening in Syria? Do not try to deflect from this issue.

    It could not be simpler. Just state in plain language your political position to the above and do not try to deflect from this

    Felix my position is I don’t care what they say.

    Zionisms position should have been that in 1967 when we had the power with at least 2-5 Nukes, we should have finished them all off. Missing that opportunity certainly in 73 when they threatened to overrun us and split the country into two halves. Ma Yomru Hagoyim? ( what will the gentiles say) willed out. So because we didn’t use our power then, we will face a more dangerous and implacable enemy in the future and more good Jews will die needlessly.

    Whether Assad is better than whoever comes after depends on who and what comes after but in either case none will be good for Israel.

    Do I care about Arabs killing Arabs? Yes insofar as I cheer from the sidelines and pray that each side kills enough of each other to reduce Syria to nothingness. Every dead Arab is a dead enemy and each one is one less to fight and kill Jews and one less we will have to kill in the next war with them. For Israel it’s a WIN WIN, for now and who can predict the future? The only good thing about the Assad’s is they were rational and mostly predictable unlike their Shia cousins in Lebanon and Iran.

    Israel can demolish Damascus just by using Artillery from the Golan about 40Km and we have tactical nuclear artillery shells. That’s why our border with Syria has been since 73, our quietest.

  3. Yamit

    In case you do not reply to comment 5 let me make my position on Netanyahu clear even yet again. As a Trotskyist i am committed to defending Netanyahu and any other Israeli leader when they come under attack from antisemites or from Imperialists like Clinton or Obama, or from Stalinists like Putin. That is a principled defence. It is called in Trotskyist circles The United Front. Such a defence does not mean we speak from the same political programme. In general bourgeois Zionism in the end always betrays the Jews. And you Yamit stand in that camp of betrayal. Hence your silence over Proser and Assad.

  4. Yamit

    Listen

    Just state here your political position on Proser and Netanyahu in the UN. As I have.

    What should be the position of Israel and Zionism towards Assad and what is happening in Syria? Do not try to deflect from this issue.

    It could not be simpler. Just state in plain language your political position to the above and do not try to deflect from this

  5. I remember the days when I was an almost lone voice against BB and was roundly bashed by Messrs: Quigley and B.Oatmeal! What 3 years will do … 😛

  6. Sorry I made a serious mistake there. Not only is Netanyahu and Prosor carrying the line of Al Jazeera but he is first and foremost the total slave and servant (servile to) Obama and the US State machine. Sack this man or Israel is finished I warn you!

  7. NETANYAHU WHO CONTROLS THIS CREATURE PROSOR MUST BE BOOTED OUT OF OFFICE NOW BEFORE HE DESTROYS ZION

    Prosor says:

    Prosor told the assembly that the graphic pictures emerging from Syria and the reports of bloodshed cannot be ignored. The U.N. estimates that more than 5,000 people have been killed in the 11-month-long uprising that aims to topple Assad’s regime and seeks reform.

    “These pictures of helplessness in the face of death serve as a moral call to every person and every nation in the world,” Prosor said. “Nowhere is that call more clear than here at the United Nations, which was founded primarily to safeguard the principles of human rights, dignity and life.”

    Prosor went on to say that Assad is “systematically murdering civilians…and his tanks are trampling on the rights of peaceful protestors. His forces are raping and torturing men, women and children.

    Frankly makes me want to vomit.

    Prosor is taking his information “The UN Estimates” firstly THEREFORE from the UN bastards, secondly from the Muslim Brotherhood which lies behind the Arab Spring turning into Winter the Winter of Sharia, and three from the rabid Media Machine.

    I call on a big campaign in the Jewish movement to have Prosor sacked from his job in the UN, for him never to hold office again and for him to join along with Haniyah of Hamas in a special post working for Al Jazeera in Qatar. Oh yes he can also become PR for Barcelona Football club when he is there.

  8. “no moral authority to govern.”

    Is this a page from Louis XIV of France, who ruled by “Divine Right”? I suppose if Ba’al Obama says Assad has no “moral authority”, then the Jews must follow his lead. I imagine Stalin also had the “moral authority” to rule the Russians, seeing that he was on our side (and therefore on God’s side, Who was also on our side).

    What a bunch of hooey! The words of the ambassador will turn against Israel, just as surely as the earth turns on its axis.