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I read  a book by one of Saddam Hussein's Christian advisors (he survived Saddam by always speaking the truth and giving frank advice) and he says they did have chemical weapons. Georges Sada wrote a book.  Read on this page what he said: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WMD_conjecture_in_the_aftermath_of_the_2003_invasion_of_Iraq - also read his biography on Wikipedia.

I had a bible study whose family was hit by the chemical bombs. Saddam used chemical weapons against the Kurds - on one occasion something like 23,000 died.  Sada says that they were expecting the Iraq invasion (I remember at the time the media was preparing the people for invasion - I was living in UK - it took about 6 months of talk before they went in)   They took so long to invade that Saddam had time to smuggle the weapons into Syria in emergency aid vehicles (fake red cross/moon) and planes. England's population were against the invasion but Blair went in despite their opposition and this eventually cost him his premiership - he had to step down.

I often wonder where those weapons are in Syria and who has control of them now - because these "unknown"  owners can be using them. Apparently one only needs a small caravan (small space) to make these weapons.

 

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      For years, critics of the United Nations have been calling on the U.S. to defund and even quit the world body. Some have urged that a rival or successor organization be established. Now, the empty sheet of bitter discontent with the UN has been filled in with a new name and a new movement calling to “defund and replace” the troubled organization with the Covenant of Democratic Nations. This writer has been a participating witness to the birth of this movement.
      Just days after the passage of UN Resolution 2334, which declared, among other things, that Israel’s Jewish connection to the Western Wall was effectively illegal, concrete replacement action began. It has started with a conversation of ideas proposing an official international conference that would carefully propound a multilaterally-signed diplomatic convention to be ratified by countries as a binding treaty that would juridically forge the covenant into operational reality.
      The entire process would be limited to nations governed by democratic principles. Each member would or could defund the United Nations while it labored to construct a successor entity dedicated to world peace along democratic principles with equal respect for all people regardless of religion, gender, race, identity, or national origin, as well as formulating a mechanism to resolve disputes.
      A prime mission of the new world body would be to re-ratify, amend, or nullify all acts and resolutions of the United Nations and its agencies such as UNESCO. Thus, the Covenant would create a new body of long-overdue, reformed, clarified, and updated international law. Sensibly, most CDN nations would remain as vestigial members of the UN overseeing its collapse from economic and bureaucratic processes as was done when the League of Nations was dissolved after World War II and replaced with the present UN.
      Clearly, the history of world bodies, fluttering high-minded banners of peace on earth following wars that scorched the world and scarred all humankind, is not a good one. The League of Nations was born after World War I out of a quest for revenge by the victors, laced with a visionary desire to end colonialism and empower self-determination among nationally awakened peoples, so long as the whole business conquered the oil fields of the Mideast, lubricating the machinery of the post-Second Industrial Revolution West—and the multinational corporate palms that controlled it.
      Countries were invented that had never existed, carved and chipped off the toppled Turkish and German empires, with handpicked kings and sovereigns put into place who could legally sign lucrative petroleum contracts. Backstage, oil companies got the oil. But the flaccid League of Nations – which never included the United States –proved its utter uselessness during the Hitler regime.
      After World War II, the League was replaced by the United Nations. Although enshrined as a democratic enterprise, profoundly undemocratic and scheming governments penetrated the organization from its inception. Civil war-torn China and a tyrannical and hegemonic Soviet Union joined France, Great Britain, and the United States to create the Security Council. Expansion, inclusion, and extension eventually enrolled 193 nations, including such egalitarian democracies as North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, and Saudi Arabia. The world body began as a sick organ and deteriorated from there.
      The Covenant conversation launched in earnest on January 23 when a panel of like-minded voices assembled in a crowded Gold Room of the Rayburn House Office Building. Representative Trent Franks (R-AZ,) who currently supports a bill to defund the UN, opened the Covenant Launch proceedings by declaring, “This is a critically important issue. The United Nations started out with a noble charter…but the United Nations has not only failed their charter, they have distinctly moved in the opposite direction and done actual harm…. They have become an anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-democratic, anti-freedom mob…. We need some type of alternative – a Covenant of Democratic Nations…. We need to repeal and replace.”
      Sarah Stern, founder of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), pinpointed America’s 22 percent share of the overall UN budget. Stern said America was not getting what it pays for when “despotic, ruthless, tyrannical regimes” such as Syria “could pass judgment on the one democracy in the Middle East.” The UN has, she said, proven to be “abysmal” and added, “It is now time to begin having this conversation about dissolving the United Nations and replacing with a Covenant of Democratic Nations that share our common values…of tolerance, human rights, and the rule of law.”
      Famed constitutional attorney Nathan Lewin, who has worked on 28 Supreme Court cases, proclaimed to the room, “The United Nations deserves an obituary…because the United Nations committed suicide when it adopted Resolution 2334. It wrote its own death warrant…. Today I am happy to join a group that would spell the end of the United Nations, the end of its funding, it presence and significance in the world order.”
      The Covenant launch in Washington was only the beginning. Additional panels and town hall meetings will convene in several locales in the coming weeks. The conversation has begun.
      Edwin Black
      About the Author: Edwin Black is the author of several books including “ IBM and the Holocaust” and the initiator of the Covenant of the Democratic Nations effort. For his prior efforts, he has been awarded the Moral Courage Award, the Moral Compass Award, and the Justice for All Award.
      http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/replacing-the-un-with-the-covenant-of-democratic-nations/2017/02/02/
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      Civilians and fighters to be allowed out of east Aleppo in return for evacuation of people from rebel-besieged towns.

      Syrian state television aired footage said to show evacuation buses in southwest Aleppo [Reuters]
      The evacuation of thousands of increasingly desperate Syrian civilians and fighters stranded in besieged east Aleppo is set to resume after a new deal was reached between rebel and the Syrian government.
      Buses started entering several neighbourhoods on Sunday under the supervision of the Red Crescent and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), state news agency SANA said.
      A source in Aleppo told Al Jazeera that as part of the latest deal, a total of 4,000 people will evacuate the Shia-majority towns of Fua and Kefraya in Idlib province, which are currently besieged by opposition fighters.
      The source, who wanted to remain anonymous, said 1,500 people in the government-besieged towns of Madaya and Zabadani as well as everyone in eastern Aleppo will also be allowed to evacuate as part of this deal.

      Syrian state media reported that government forces would only allow civilians and fighters to leave eastern Aleppo once families in Fua and Kefraya are evacuated.
      Buses and Red Crescent vehicles arrived at the entrance to the two towns on Sunday, al-Manar TV, run by the Lebanese Hezbollah group, said on Sunday.
      The new deal comes days after the Syrian government claimed victory in Aleppo, which had been partly under rebel control since 2012.
      Busses and ambulances
      Mohammed Shakiel Shabir, an aid worker based in rebel-held Idlib province, said approximately 100 buses were being prepared to collect the civilians from Khan al-Asl, a suburb of Aleppo city.
      "We are taking several ambulances, food and medicines and approximately 100 coaches to Khan al-Asl," he told Al Jazeera.
      "Each coach can transport around 40 people so [God willing] we will be transferring thousands to safety."
      Reports differ on how many people remain in eastern Aleppo, with numbers ranging from 15,000 to 40,000 civilians, along with an estimated 6,000 fighters.
      The evacuation of eastern Aleppo was suspended on Friday after  rebels and government forces accused each other  of violating an earlier deal.
      According to the UN,   more than four million people   live in besieged or hard-to-reach areas in Syria, with limited or no access to food or medical supplies.
      The UN Security Council is to expected to discuss the possible deployment of observers to Aleppo later on Sunday and vote on a resolution demanding immediate and unconditional access for UN staff to ensure the delivery of humanitarian aid.
      According to several UN delegations on Twitter, the Council will meet for a special session at 12:00GMT to discuss a French-drafted resolution.
      The draft resolution, obtained by the AP news agency, calls on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately redeploy UN staff already on the ground to carry out "neutral monitoring" and "direct observation and to report on evacuations".
      It stresses that evacuations of civilians "must be voluntary and to destinations of their choice".
      Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN Ambassador, said on Friday he would examine the draft but was sceptical that monitors could be deployed quickly.
      Aleppo, Syria's second largest city and once a key cultural and economic hub, has been divided between government forces and rebels since 2012.
      The evacuation agreements came a month after the Syrian government and allied militias launched a military offensive to retake the entire city. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has hailed the operation as a victory. 
      The Syrian conflict started as a largely unarmed uprising against Assad's rule in March 2011. It has since morphed into a full-scale civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead and more than half of the country's prewar population displaced inside and outside of Syria. 
      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/12/aleppo-161218045722651.html
    • By Med Alaoui
      The war in Syria continue to kill childrens, today in Damascuc six children killed and 26 wounded in the capital damascus.

      By Euronews

      you can watch the report here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jME0MfGHUyQ
       
    • By The Librarian
      Over the past year we have been celebrating 70 years of the United Nations and indeed, there is much to be proud of and grateful for. Over the past year alone, Member States adopted an ambitious development agenda – Agenda 2030 – as well as the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change, a process in which I was honoured to play a role. These agreements demonstrate, once again, the power and the value of the UN when its Member States are united in purpose.
      At the same time, the world is facing complex challenges that the UN’s founders could have scarcely imagined 70 years ago. As our societies have grown more interconnected, so have our problems. The global migration and refugee crisis has demonstrated that armed conflict, environmental degradation and human rights violations in one part of the world can have repercussions across the world. We are already witnessing the effects of climate change, the impacts of which are being felt most acutely by the poorest societies that are least able to cope. We have also been made painfully aware that terrorism knows no borders and that violent extremists are increasingly adept at exploiting power vacuums, instability and discontent to spread hatred and destruction.
      Image: United Nations Working together to tackle the biggest challenges
      It is evident that we can no longer afford to deal with such challenges in an isolated manner or ignore the full range of their impacts – social, political, environmental and economic. Doing so risks inflaming vicious cycles of conflict. The only way to take on these challenges is by working collectively; either we figure out ways of winning together, or we will all lose together.
      In these complicated times, and in a fraught and shifting geopolitical environment, the United Nations remains the indispensable organization that can bring the world around the table to formulate collective responses to shared challenges. Even as these challenges grow increasingly complex, Member States continue to turn to the UN as the universal forum to build consensus and unity in the face of daunting obstacles. But in order to deliver on its crucial responsibilities in a fast-moving world, the UN as an institution has to evolve. This requires visionary leadership and creativity to adapt the way we think, the way we engage, and the way we work.
      Four priorities for peace and security
      For the UN to take on the global challenges of the 21st century, I believe the next secretary-general should focus on four broad priorities in the field of peace and security.
      First, conflict prevention and strengthened political engagement must be brought to the forefront of the UN’s agenda. This is not a new idea –three major reviews of the UN’s peace and security architecture over the past year have reiterated this point. The UN secretariat needs to be more creative in presenting to the Security Council the full spectrum of instruments we have at our disposal to prevent and de-escalate conflicts, from special envoys, regional political offices and political missions, to peacebuilding support efforts and specialized, interdisciplinary teams that can provide host governments with focused support. The UN should also use its greatest assets – its convening power and legitimacy – to be more active at bringing together stakeholders to negotiate political settlements and resolve conflicts before violence erupts.
      Additionally, we must remember that conflict prevention requires sowing the seeds of long-term peace through development and prosperity. Agenda 2030 highlights the old truth that there is no peace without sustainable development – and no sustainable development without peace.
      A second priority should be promoting full integration of UN system-wide efforts. Too often the UN’s political, developmental and human rights efforts are functioning at cross-purposes. This must stop. The multi-dimensional challenges we face require multi-dimensional thinking and action. We must overcome institutional inertia and instil a culture of systemic collaboration and inter-disciplinary thinking appropriate for the interconnected world we live in. The new secretary-general and their team should find innovative ways of harnessing the full capacities of the UN system, including the agencies, funds and programmes to be able to tackle issues on all fronts. This also requires undertaking renewed efforts to promote better internal governance, transparency and accountability. And we must heed the call from both Member States and UN staff to adapt our bureaucratic processes to be more agile and effective, and better respond to evolving realities in the field.
      Third, the UN must become a better partner. Regional and sub-regional organizations such as the African Union, European Union, Arab League, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and others play a critical role in conflict resolution and prevention. We must recognize that other actors are sometimes better placed to react more rapidly and effectively. In such cases, we should work together with these organizations to identify the ways the UN can best support and enable regional efforts. And our approach should be grounded in a spirit of mutual respect and recognition of comparative advantages.
      Finally, the next secretary-general should redouble diplomatic engagement with Member States, particularly the Security Council, through closer and more regular interaction aimed at finding and expanding points of consensus. While the Council has been criticized for its handling of the Syrian crisis, we must recognize that it found common ground on the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons and on authorizing cross-border humanitarian access. Even in the most seemingly intractable conflicts, there is room for agreement on issues of common interest, and the secretary-general should use their diplomatic arsenal and creativity to facilitate consensus among Member States, even when consensus seems impossible.
      Making the impossible a reality
      Indeed, a universal agreement to combat climate change seemed impossible only a few years ago. But through persistent, hopeful leadership and old-fashioned multilateral diplomacy –the UN’s raison d’être and greatest strength – we were able to make the impossible possible. I am confident that together we can do the same for the multitude of challenges we face today. Billions of people around the world affected by conflict, poverty and hardship are counting on us. We cannot fail them.
      https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/08/these-are-the-big-challenges-awaiting-the-new-un-secretary-general
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