WSJ: U.N. Pushes Back at U.S. Calls to Abort Syria Inspection Mission

The WSJ reports:

United Nations weapons inspectors arrived at one of the sites of last week’s presumed chemical-weapons attacks outside Damascus, spurning U.S. calls for the team to stop their mission as American officials said they are inching closer to a decision for a military strike…

U.S. officials told U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that it was no longer safe for the inspectors to remain in Syria and that their mission was pointless, said a person familiar with the matter.

Although President Barack Obama remains undecided on military action, the U.S. request for the U.N. team to withdraw echoed its moves before it attacked Iraq in 2003, when it asked a U.N. inspection team in Baghdad to withdraw for its own safety as it prepared for military operations.

The US is claiming that the UN inspectors wouldn’t “be able to collect viable evidence due to the passage of time and damage from subsequent shelling.”

The UN disagrees:

The U.N. has held firm against the U.S., with one official saying evidence of a chemical attack would still exist. Chemical traces could be found in survivors and vegetation for months, chemical-weapons experts said. The U.N. team in Damascus was there to investigate a suspected chemical-weapons attack conducted months earlier in northern Syria.

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