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In Syria Deal, UN Reduced to Recommendations, UK & France's Yes Men

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, September 14 -- The deal on Syria chemical weapons reached by the US and Russia marginalizes the UN and its Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who on Friday was bragging of his own "overwhelming" report to come out Monday. What will that report mean now?

  In the agreement, Ban's role is only to "submit recommendations," and even then "in consultation with the OPCW."

  But also quickly shown up as having limited relevance are the US' two partners in the Permanent Five members of the Security Council, France and the UK.

  France rushed to draft and promote a resolution last week that is now not only undercut by the US, but largely moot. Will either use their veto for what they say they believe in? Not if the US says not to. Hence Monday's lunch in Paris, between John Kerry and his counterparts William J. Hague and "Fabulous" Laurent Fabius.

  Speaking of spoon-fed, last week insider journalists were hyping up the French draft; several even skipped going to cover the P5 meeting on September 11 at the Russian Mission on 67th Street, in order to stay in the UN's air conditioning and be spoon-fed the French resolution and quotes about Ban's "overwhelming" report.

  Reuters ran a story that the meeting at the Russian mission concerned the French draft; it did not. The breathless stories about how the UN report will "finger" Assad, now just three days later, are seen as manipulative leaking. The timing was a hint that the game was slipping away from France and the UK and the media they feed.

  Now their game will shift to decrying violations right away, openly bemoaning as some already have the limits of the agreement, that is, that the US did not actually hit Syria with missiles. This seems to be the position of the Voice of America, at least at the UN.

  Maybe it takes a while for marching orders to trickle down from John Kerry, who serves of VOA's Broadcasting Board of Governor, to the bureau at the UN, the land that time forgot.

  VOA helpfully (or hopefully) tweeted that the US remains prepared to act, something echoed by the Reuters bureau chief who spied for the UN. His Agence France Presse counterpart, also exposed as a troll in MediaBistro, had nothing so say -- kind of like France. Watch this site.


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