Yesterday, 3rd of September, Espen Barth Eide came to our school and talked about foreign politics. In that regards he talked about the situation in Syria. He said that what we have is a really difficult situation, and it’s hard to know what’s the right thing to do.
It’s not a war between two parties, it’s a war between several – which makes the situation even harder.
He stated that the Security Council has yet to talk about the matter regarding the use of chemical weapons. As of right now, we have strong indications that those types of weapons was used – what we don’t know is who used them. We’ve had a norm in about 90 years forbidding the use of chemical weapons, and he told us that he and foreign ministers in other northern countries has written an appeal to the Security Council stating that they expect them to deal with the fact that chemical weapons has been used.
He also said that Norway as a country has a rather big responsibility, and all the countries has a shared responsibility to do something about the situation in Syria. He would, however, not state what Norway would do – he only stated a lot of possible reactions. He wanted to wait for UN’s findings.
Eide said that he thinks that it has been put too little emphasis on the foreign politics during the election campaign in Norway which is being held in six days, September 9th.
He ended with saying that foreign politics deals with many important issues, those issues are more important than the question on how we’re going to finance our roads.
On the 21st of August a gas attack was performed in the area in & around Damascus. With the number of civilians killed rising above 1000, this chemical weapons attack will be the worst the world has seen since the 1980s.
The attack happened the night to the 21st, 3am local time (0000 GMT)
(See the timeline below)
(Reported on Facebook pages of the Syrian opposition)
01:15 – Heavy fighting in rebel held districts of Ghouta
02:45 – Reports of ‘’chemical shelling’’ in the Ein Tarma district
02:47 – Reports of ‘’chemical weapons’’ had been used in the Zamalka area of Ghouta
03:00 – Doctor who works(worked) in Irbin, told Human Rights Watch that attack began at 3am. He said at the time there was no fighting taking place between government forces and opposition fighters. The second doctor also told Human Rights WaTch his medical center treated 65 children.
05:30 – (Muhadhamiya, reports from another medical center) Reports of another attack.
Large numbers of patients displayed convulsions, pinpoint pupils, excessive saliva and problems with breathing.
Medics treated patients with atropine.
Col Hamish de Bretton-Gordon( chemical weapon expert) thinks that there was a 3 phase attack.
UN Security Council
The United nations security council consists of 15 countries. Five of the member countries got a permanent seat at the council (USA, France, UK, China and Russia), while ten members only get elected for two years at the time. The security cancels task is to monitor the world situation and intervene if the world security is at risk. The council is the only UN institution that has the power to ask for and use military power.
To interfere in a conflict the member countries of the council have to decide what to do and vote on a decision. For the council to take a decision nine of the member countries have to vote yes. But all the five permanent members got the chance to put in a veto. That means that even though 14 of the councils members votes positive, one of the permanent members could put in a veto on the decision and all the other positive votes will not count.
On the 31st, President Obama hold a speech regarding the situation in Syria. He said that he was ready to move forward with a limited attack on the Syrian regime. He would, however, not put boots on the ground.
I encourage you take a look at Obama’s speech: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QeYDhMmVLXI
This post has been a collaboration between students:
David wrote about the UN Sec. Council.
Julia & Dimitrije wrote about the timeline.
(Everything between the “____” & “____” is written by them)