Clear and Convincing Evidence

The United Nations team dispatched to Syria to investigate the alleged use of chemical weapons found “clear and convincing evidence” that sarin gas, a deadly nerve agent, was used “on a relatively large scale” on Aug. 21 in the outskirts of Damascus, announced the world organization on Monday. “The results are overwhelming and indisputable. The facts speak for themselves,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon told reporters following a closed-door briefing to the UN Security Council on the team’s findings. “This is a war crime” and the worst use of weapons of mass destruction in the 21st century, he said. The UN team did not determine who carried out the attack; that was not its mandate. The Obama Administration, however, did not hesitate to reiterate its accusations against the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad. “The technical details of the UN report make clear that only the regime could have carried out this large-scale chemical weapons attack,” said Samantha Power, US permanent representative to the UN. “It’s very important to note that the regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin,” she said. (Power’s transcript)