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Now Syria Coalition Trashes Obama, Praises Hillary & Ford, UN on Margins

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 22, more here -- Now the Syrian Coalition has criticized US President Obama.

 While the Coalition seemed to think that ISIL's advance in Iraq would make the US more likely to give it weapons, now Coalition spokesman Louay Safi  "regrets" Obama telling CBS  "he dismissed the idea that supplying US arms to moderate Syrian rebels would have toppled President Assad, calling it a 'fantasy.'"

  Safi says "Obama's remarks are meant to cover up the inability of his administration to prevent the deterioration of the political and humanitarian situation in the Levant, and also to evade the growing criticism to his policies regarding the Syrian crisis."

 Jumping directly into US politics, Safi says: "Had the Obama administration heeded the advice of the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his special envoy to Syria we would not have had the current situation in Syria or in the region as a whole.”

  Is Robert Ford running for office?

  On the Iraq - Syria border, the day after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon speechified at the Asia Society that "Syria’s neighbors should enforce a firm prohibition on the use of their land borders and airspace for arms flows and smuggling into Syria," ISIS took over a major crossing at Qaim, 200 miles west of Baghdad.

  At the UN's noon briefing on June 20, after Ban's speech, Inner City Press asked UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric:

Inner City Press: I didn’t see it in his speech, but it seems like at least a large part of the Iraqi border may be controlled by ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Sham) or ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).  So, in terms of realism, does this mean now absent Government control, it’s just an open flow of weapons? Is there an acknowledgement by the UN that nothing can be done in terms of weapons?

Spokesman Dujarric:  Well, I think, you know, Member States, groups that have an influence all have a responsibility to stop the flow of arms.

 Surely ISIS is listening to Ban. The Syrian Coalition of Ahmad Jarba, meanwhile, praised the speech and called for "serious" weapons. Inner City Press asked Dujarric:

Inner City Press: the Syrian Coalition of Ahmed al-Jarba has put out a statement praising the speech and saying that:  “There should be serious weapons and training for moderate opposition forces.”  And I wanted to know, just to be clear, the Secretary-General is not in favour of that, thinks this is a bad call?

Spokesman:  I think the Secretary-General could not have been clearer when he’s speaking about an arms embargo and speaking for the halt of flow of arms into Syria.

 But how clear *is* Ban Ki-moon, when he meets with Jarba?

  Now it turns out that near the Asia Society Team Ban got served with legal papers about having brought cholera to Haiti. Dujarric's deputy Farhan Haq told some media -- refusing to answer the Press -- that Ban himself didn't get the papers. We'll have more on this -- and on the UN's pre-spinning of Ban's speech, reviewed here.

   How can Ban's UN be taken seriously on Syria or anything else while dodging service of legal papers for cholera in Haiti, and refusing to answer about it?

On the humanitarian front, Ban “appealed for an end to the sieges” and for “immediate unfettered humanitarian access across internal front lines and across borders.”

  Later on June 20, Dujarric's and Haq's office murkily released a UN report which tracks Ban's speech, which the UN's go-to wire service then said it had "obtained."

  A draft resolution on cross-border aid is being negotiated in the Security Council. But on June 19, Australian ambassador Gary Quinlan told the Press there will be no vote this week. When there is, will that be news? Watch this site.


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