New York (GPA) – Following two Russian vetoes in one week at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), US ambassador Nikki Haley has promised the US would act alone to “fight for justice.”
At the end of last week, the UNSC voted on two resolutions concerning the April chemical weapons incident in Khan Sheikhoun, Syria. The resolutions, which sought to continue the mission of the UN-led joint investigative mechanism (JIM), were vetoed by the Russian envoy, Vassily Nebenzia who said: “Any extension of the JIM’s mandate for us is possible only provided fundamental flaws in its work are rectified.”
Nebenzia said the reasons behind Russia’s decision to use their veto power was based on the past performance of JIM which had “disgraced itself with its fictitious investigation,” and had “signed its name on baseless accusations against Syria.” These remarks were made in reference to the recent joint report issued by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
This OPCW-UN report, which was published in late October and concluded that the Syrian government had carried out a chemical weapons attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Russia has wisely refused to accept this report due to several factors, primarily the commission’s inability to even visit the site to collect evidence due to the danger posed by “moderate rebels” in the area. The OPCW had also already overseen a chemical weapons destruction program in Syria, which they previously reported the Assad government was fully compliant with.
While many people might think it is a reasonable request by Russia to have a larger role in the UN’s Syria investigations, there is, of course, one person who will never treat any nation with dignity: Nikki Haley. According to Haley, when it comes to the UNSC, “Russia is wasting our time,” and “has no interest in finding ground with the rest of this council to save the JIM.”
Haley went on to offer her stock answer for everything, which is that the US doesn’t need consensus for anything and that the US “With the unity of this council, or alone, unrestrained by Russia’s obstructionism, we will continue to fight for justice and accountability in Syria.” As usual, Haley also fully blamed Russia for the failed resolutions, saying they “dictated and demanded” while the US “incorporated elements of the Russian draft.” Haley also accused the Russian envoy of avoiding attempted communications from the US.
Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, responded to these allegations by Haley, saying the US is practicing “fake diplomacy.” Lavrov said “We have read all the reports provided by our New York mission – no such efforts were rejected. Experts held meetings, we clarified our stance and the Americans tried to use some cosmetic phrases, pretending that they had taken our concerns into consideration.” This story sounds much more like US style diplomacy than the claims of Russian obstruction made by Haley.
Lavrov also went on to note that Russia had supported an earlier resolution on Syria introduced by Bolivia, which the US vetoed. “As the US and its allies have vetoed the document, it means that they don’t want this mechanism to be an honest and effective one,” he said.
Vasily Nebenzya also spoke out on Haley’s claims in a tweet after the vote on Thursday saying there is “Not a single missed call on my phone. And our experts replied as many times as been contacted by the #US counterparts.” Haley fired back at Nebenzya saying “By using the veto to kill a mechanism in Syria that holds users of chemical weapons accountable, Russia proves they cannot be trusted or credible as we work towards a political solution in Syria.”
.@nikkihaley on “Vassily not available for some reasons”: https://t.co/JvRiKbhM8R Wrong! #Nebenzia: Not a single missed call on my phone. And our experts replied as many times as been contacted by the #US counterparts. pic.twitter.com/0xISrTlDdl
— Russian Mission UN (@RussiaUN) November 17, 2017
However, unlike some past occasions where Haley has jumped the gun and contradicted the official line of the Trump regime, this time the President personally backed up Haley via Twitter. In his tweet, Trump expressed the importance of the UNSC renewing the JIM was necessary “to ensure that Assad Regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again.”
Need all on the UN Security Council to vote to renew the Joint Investigative Mechanism for Syria to ensure that Assad Regime does not commit mass murder with chemical weapons ever again.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 16, 2017
Despite the excuses made by defenders of the Trump regime – even after the Tomahawk strike – it should now be clear that the violent rhetoric often employed by Haley is compatible with the official policy of the White House. This new attitude toward Haley by Tump started to evolve following her tirades against North Korea and, more recently, her attacks on Venezuela.
The war against ISIS may be coming to an end, but the war in Syria still has some major questions to resolve. The US still has proxies across the country and it seems they’re only becoming more focused on demonizing Bashar Al Assad in the service of whatever the next step of their plan might be.
James Carey is an organizer based in Detroit, Michigan, founder of Geopolitics Alert, and an experienced analyst on Middle Eastern affairs with a particular focus on Turkey. He also covers topics ranging from Latin America and Asia to Europe. You can also hear James in his weekly podcast; The Left is Dead which he co-hosts with investigative journalist Jake Anderson.