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On Syria, Obama Wants to Strike, Will Take It to Congress, UN Irrelevant?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 31 -- Why did the UN hold a rare Saturday press conference on August 31? To try to make itself relevant on Syria. To summarize a meeting in an undisclosed location between Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his High Representative on Disarmament Angela Kane. To say it cannot say when its report on chemical weapons will be completed.

That report is not supposed to, according to its mandate, say WHO used chemical weapons. When Inner City Press asked this week, Ban's associate spokesperson Farhan Haq said there would however be an "evidence based narrative." When Ban's lead spokesperson Martin Nesirky returned on August 30, Inner City Press asked him what the phrase meant. It will include interviews with witnesses and survivors.

On August 31, Gulf media told Nesirky Ban should "step up to the plate" and say who used the weapons. Nesirky pushed back; he also noted that a US State Department correspondent who quoted John Kerry on August 30 might again be watching TV, to see what Obama said.

When Obama belated started up, he said he has decided to use force, but to seek Congressional approval. He said he'll act without UN Security Council approval. And what of Sellstrom's report? Watch this site.


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