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Pinheiro Has No Qatar or Del Ponte, Ladsous' Clouseau-Like Probe?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 4 -- As the Syria report of the UN Commission of Inquiry was released and debated in Geneva Tuesday morning, the report was as noteworthy for what was not in it as for what was.

  When panelist Carla Del Ponte said publicly there were "serious suspicions" of chemical weapons use by the rebels, CoI chairperson Paulo Pinheiri quickly put out a press release undercutting it.

  And lo and behold, his report says in Paragraph 138 that while "it is possible that anti-Government armed groups may access and use chemical weapons... there is no compelling evidence that these groups possess such weapons or their requisite delivery systems."

So there are "strong suspicions" (Del Ponte) but according to Pinheiro's final report, no "compelling evidence"? How to square these two?

On June 3 Inner City Press exclusively reported that despite a statement by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Office of the Spokesperson that video said to indicate rebel use of chemical weapons at Khan Al-Asal was being processed by the UN's Angela Kane for submission to Ban's prober Ake Sellstrom, this has not taken place. Then again, Pinheiro wouldn't even consider the footage.

  Likewise, while the Pinheiro report recites the repeated kidnapping of UN peacekeepers in the Golan in Paragraph 72, it does not even mention the allegation of involvement from Doha, Qatar. During the debate, it was (mis?) stated that Ban's head of Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous is investigating Qatar's role.

  Ironically, Qatar in its speech denounced the abduction of people. Really?

  Pinheiro did speaks against the transfer of weapons in to Syria. At the UN in New York on June 3, the UK's Alistair Burt told Inner City Press his country wants the flexibility to do just that.

While Botswana said talks could lead to an "amicable" resolution, it's hard to imagine any denouement that would be "amicable."

US Ambassador Eileen Donahoe praised the opposition's "awareness campaigns" -- apparently PSAs by the FSA, Public Service Announcements by the Free Syrian Army. But what about the Al Nusra Front? Watch this site.

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