Wednesday, April 26, 2017

French intelligence blames Syrian regime for deadly chemical attack

French intelligence blames Syrian regime for deadly chemical attack

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A report by French intelligence services blames Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime for the chemical attack in rebel-held Syria that killed 87 people, Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said on Wednesday.
Chemical analysis of samples taken from a deadly sarin gas attack in Syria earlier this month "bears the signature" of President Bashar Assad's government and shows it was responsible for the deadly assault, France's foreign minister said on Wednesday.
According to Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, France came to this conclusion after comparing samples from a sarin attack in Syria from 2013 that matched. The findings came in a report published on Wednesday.
The Kremlin promptly denounced the French report, saying the samples and the fact the nerve agent was used are not enough to prove who was behind it.
France knows "from sure sources" that "the manufacturing process of the sarin that was sampled is typical of the method developed in Syrian laboratories," Ayrault added.

"This method bears the signature of the regime and that is what allows us to establish its responsibility in this attack."
Read also: Assad attempts to lie about children dying
France's Foreign Ministry said that blood samples were taken from a victim in Syria on the day of the attack in the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhun on April 4 in which more than 80 people were killed.
Environmental samples, the French ministry said, show the weapons were made "according to the same production process than the one used in the sarin attack perpetrated by the Syrian regime in Sarabeq."
France's presidency said the country's intelligence services presented evidence which "demonstrate that the (Syrian) regime still holds chemical warfare agents, in violation of the commitments to eliminate them that it took in 2013." It says the information will be made public.
It's thought that Assad's government still has a stockpile hundreds of ton of chemical weapons despite saying it had handed over all of them.
Speaking to reporters in Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia's position on the attack is "unchanged" and that "that the only way to establish the truth about what happened near Idlib is an impartial international investigation."
Russia has previously urged for an international probe, and Peskov expressed regret that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has turned down the Syrian government's offers to visit the site of the attack and investigate.
Read also: The organisation ridding the world of chemical weapons
The United States has also blame Assad's government for the attack. The Trump administration fired cruise missiles at a Syrian airbase in retaliation for the attack and issued sanctions on 271 people linked to the Syrian agency said to be responsible for producing non-conventional weapons. Syria has strongly denied the accusations.

The end of the Arab nation state

Khalil-Al-Anani

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We cannot begin to understand the disintegration and fragmentation plaguing the Arab region without looking at the failures of the nation states that were established on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire following its destruction a hundred years or so ago. Furthermore, we cannot begin to analyse the emergence of extremist phenomena, such as Daesh, in the Arab world without contextualising it within the history of the faults of the state and many other reasons that cannot be discussed here.
Over the course of a century, the modern Arab elite have supposed that the mere establishment of a nation state would allow for the achievement of two main goals: independence from colonialism and escape from Western-imperial control, and a route to modernity by breaking free from the impediments imposed by the Ottomans over the preceding two centuries.
Now, with the modern nation states duly established and post-independence, we can see that there has been a total failure in achieving either goal. The Arab elite has not recognised the inherent contradiction when it comes to the structure of these two objectives. For instance, how can true national liberation be achieved, in both the political and the modern sense, when colonialism itself was seen as the driver for modernity? In other words, it is difficult to combine national and civil independence by imitating another, Western, model which requires the import of another culture and its vocabulary for independence. The problem lies in imitating the very structure from which the Arab nation sought to separate and liberate itself. The Western version remains the ultimate model for Arab modernity, and therein lies the problem.
It is possible to speak with confidence and say that the modern Arab state has actually yet to be established, and that all that has taken place throughout the past century has been nothing more than a series of attempts to build this state, all of which have failed. A brief recap of the history of these attempts proves this.
The first came with the independence and subsequent states established in the Arab “Mashreq”, with Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, then on to Egypt and Sudan, the Arab Maghreb from Libya to Morocco, to Tunisia and Algeria, and finally the Gulf countries. As noted earlier, the failed attempts to achieve true independence are the result of the inability of these countries to rid themselves of political colonialism and its modernist cultural model.
The second attempt to build the Arab nation state came in efforts with Arab unity as the goal, and the centralisation of the liberation of the Palestinians as its main measure of success. It is no surprise that the Arab states failed miserably in both; they haven’t achieved Arab unity and Palestine is still under occupation. The setback of the Arab defeat of 1967 has been mourned every year on the 5th June ever since. Consequently, the question of national unity now focuses on how the current states can be saved in light of their imminent collapse and the divisions that they are facing.
The third attempt came with the establishment of what Nazih Ayoubi calls “the big state”, which succeeded in establishing a large and powerful state apparatus that is designed to provide everything from healthcare to education and all other social services. From the 1960s to the 1980s the state (especially in Egypt) became nothing more than a huge burden on itself. Only the security apparatus grew, albeit serving the needs of the regime instead of the people.
The fourth stage was the attempt to re-fashion the state in Islamic garb with a religious and political awakening in the Arab world. The Islamic movement in Sudan succeeded in its famous 1989 alliance with the military. At the time, the Sudanese state claimed that it was attempting to build a state upon sharia law, with the hopes of achieving Islamic justice for all of its citizens. In the end, the Sudanese establishment of an authoritarian state with a misleading religious cover did no favours to anyone; justice was not achieved.
Finally, the Arab state known as the “failed state” arrived. Such a country was no longer able to survive and lost any sense of legitimacy. Some of the Arab nation states in this situation have no sovereignty over their territories; think Iraq, Somalia, Libya, Syria and Yemen. They are no longer viable, not only in the eyes of their people but also in terms of territory, power and the international community.
What is surprising, is that despite all of the failed attempts to build a real Arab nation state, the regimes within each country continue to impose their will on the people from the top down. Civil society and the citizens have no say in their future, despite the continuing failure of the states and the model upon which they have been built
Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 24 April 201