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As UNSC Speaks on Ceasefire But Not Terrorism, Al Qaeda OK in Some Places?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 24 -- After envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told the UN Security Council by video to await an official Eid ceasefire response from the Syrian government tomorrow, the Council agreed on a press statement directed particularly at the government, as the stronger party.

  After the statement was read out, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was asked of the reported rejection in advance of the ceasefire by the Al Nusra Front, which claimed credit for deadly bombings in, among other places, Aleppo in an attack the Council condemned in a statement.

  Churkin said those with influence should speak with such groups. Inner City Press asked Churkin about his other draft Council statement on "Terrorism in Damascus," which the Council did not agree to.

  Churkin said there is a trend of not denouncing some acts of terrorism. He said some find attacks by Al Qaeda OK in some places but not in others: there is, "say that Al Qaeda cannot do certain things in one place but is welcome to do them in another place." Transcript below.

  Minutes later, Syria's Permanent Representative Bashar Ja'afari told the press, "There will be an official statement tomorrow" - that is, the day before the Eid holiday begins. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press exclusively reported on and put online a list Syrian Mission filed with the Security Council of 108 "foreign nationals" arrested in Syria. Click here for that.
  Wednesday the Mission said nothing had been done on the list; it filed a letter about the killing of some 25 civilians in Douma, in an area it says there is no government army presence. Don't expect a press statement any time soon.

  A friend on Inner City Press prepared this transcript:

Inner City Press: What about [the rejection of] your other press statement on terrorist attacks in Damascus, there was one I think had been pending, and I know that Syria's put in a letter on Douma, where 25 civilians were killed. Do you still have hope of passing those? Were they shot down?
Ambassador Churkin: We have some objections, and in fact, we need to have, I think, discussion in the Security Council about that, because lately, we have seen a certain erosion of what used to be the rock bottom and sort of principal and fundamental position of the Security Council rejecting all forms of violence, whatever the pretext or the motives and whatever the reasons which may be given for such acts of terrorism. Laterly we have a had a situation where some of our colleagues in the Security Council were saying: "Well, we have all this violence, so maybe it's not proper to make statement condemning a certain terrorist attack."

We do not accept that logic. Their idea is that, well, the government has sort of a predominant forces, asymmetrical situation, so under those circumstances, maybe we should not condemn certain terrorist attacks. We believe that this is wrong, because there are other situations after all, where we have nice symmetrical conflict, and where one of the sides has predominant military force, but that does not prevent us from condemning acts of terrorism. I mean, you cannot say that Al Qaeda cannot do certain things in one place but is welcome to do them in another place. So this is really a slippery slope, and I think that at some point before too long we need to have a serious conversation in the Security Council about that.

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