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December 10 [Tue], 2013, 18:34
 Writing on the New York Times op-ed page Sept. 11, Russian President Vladimir Putin cautioned the world about jumping to conclusions about the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Reporting in advance of Monday’s release of the U.N. inspectors preliminary report on the Aug. 21 use of poison gas in East Damascus, U.N. Secretary Gen. Ban Ki-moon confirmed what President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed was 1,400 deaths—over 400 children—from asphyxiation from Sarin nerve gas. Putin parroted al-Assad’s predictable excuse that rebel forces loaded artillery shells with Sarin and fired on innocent Syrian civilians. When the official U.N. report comes out Monday, it should identify the artillery shells used, linking the attack to the Syrian government. Putin readily gives al-Assad a convenient pass.When Putin advanced his peace plan to put al-Assad’s chemical weapons under U.N. control, skeptics questioned its viability. With al-Assad hiding his arsenal distant locations, the 47-year-old former opthamologist showed his sneaky ways, despite all the promises to his Russian patrons. Putin’s move upended already shaky U.S. public opinion and torpedoed Obama’s attempt to gain consensus in Congress for air strikes. Despite public and Congressional opposition to intervention, there’s scant evidence that Putin’s plan can ever gain control of al-Assad’s weapons of mass destruction. Speaking Geneva with his Russian
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