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Cameron dismissing UN’s finding on chemical weapons in Syria ‘completely out of step’

Afshin Rattansi
Afshin Rattansi is a journalist, author of “The Dream of the Decade – the London Novels” and an RT Contributor. Afshin Rattansi began his journalism career on The (London) Guardian in the late 1980s as one of the newspaper’s youngest ever columnists. He went on to work for Britain’s Channel 4, BBC, Al Jazeera Arabic, CNN International and Bloomberg Television and many other media. In the run-up to the Lehman Brothers crash of 2008, he published a collection of four of his novels as “The Dream of the Decade – The London Novels.” As US pressure increased on Iran, Afshin moved to Tehran to anchor the news on the new satellite TV channel, Press TV which was later banned in Britain. He set up Alternate Reality Productions in London in 2010 making Double Standards, a comedy satire show as well as other TV news commissions. His writing has also appeared in the New Statesman; Counterpunch; The Oldie; Plays and Players; Mitchell Beazley’s Encyclopaedia of 21st Century; The Journal of the British Astronomical Association; Association of Lloyd's Members Journal; Critical Quarterly; Makers of Modern Culture (Routledge, 2007); “Brought To Book” (Penguin, 1994); Flaunt; Attitude. He is a founder member of the Frontline Club in London and he won the Sony Award for outstanding contribution to international media in 2002.
Cameron dismissing UN’s finding on chemical weapons in Syria ‘completely out of step’
British PM David Cameron has dismissed UN’s report indicating rebels in Syria had used chemical weapons. RT sits down with Middle East expert Afshin Rattansi to discuss Cameron’s statement and UK’s role in Syrian crisis.

Cameron’s claims came on the eve of his trip to the capital of the 2014 Winter Games – Sochi, where he was in talks with President Vladimir Putin. RT contributor Afshin Rattansi, who also thinks that Britain has been backing chemical weapon use in the Middle East, expressed the hope that the Russian leader would at least try to have London reconsider its support for the Syrian insurgency, as Washington and Moscow earlier agreed to join their efforts in mediating peace in Syria.

RT:How does the UK hope to benefit from contradicting the findings of the UN committee that found evidence of Syrian rebels using chemical weapons?

Afshin Rattansi: It’s especially outrageous of the British PM to just dismiss Carla Del Ponte and the commission’s view into who was using chemical weapons and when in the Syrian conflict. The fact that David Cameron can do this shows him completely out of step. After all it was him, who’s been trying to lift the arms embargo for the rebels and never considered any idea of talk process, a kind of process that was aside from all the fighting and killing and slaughter. And yet John Kerry and Vladimir Putin seem to have come to an agreement, that: yes of course – they have to talk instead of all these killings.

RT:What would be the consequences for the region if the UK’s proposals are accepted and the EU removes the weapons embargo on Syria?

AR: David Cameron has been being very quick to just refute everything in the report without any prior information. As to the arms embargo, France’s FM Laurent Fabius is also saying that the embargo should be lifted, but also that Al-Nusra should be considered a terrorist organization by the EU, which of course it is now considered in the United States. And at the same time the very rebels, that are being sent the so-called non-lethal force and equipment and materials – they are defecting to Al-Nusra, according to a report in British papers. If Britain has been exporting, say, night-vision goggles to the Syrian rebels and they used them in the sarin gas attack, as indicated by Carla Del Ponte’s report, does that mean Britain has been backing the chemical weapon use in the Middle East?

RT:US Secretary of State John Kerry has said that any political solution to the unrest in Syria must involve President Bashar Assad stepping down. Would this facilitate a transition to a new government or worsen the situation in Syria?

AR: I have to say it’s surprising, that the Obama administration seems to realize finally, that Jaw-Jaw is better than war-war. There are obviously advisers close to President Obama, saying that no matter how much you want a war with Syria, no matter how you would please Jewish lobby in Washington, the people of the United States don’t want another war with American troops involved in Middle East. So, perhaps, that’s the reason behind it.

But you are right. There seems to be a problem here, a mismatch. The talks between the parties in the Syrian situation – they should just get talking, because they have to work on a venue and so forth, but it’s a victory of sorts for Beijing and Moscow to, at least, get the United States in line to see that they are continuing attempts to destabilizing the Middle East are not going to work.

And we also have to realize that in the last 24 hours Sheikh Nasrallah of Hezbollah has said, that any more Israeli air strikes will be met by the Syrian government and the Hezbollah movement, which is the only movement that’s been victorious against the Israelis.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.