National Security Brief: France ‘Certain’ Syrian Government Used Chemical Weapons

The French government said on Tuesday that it has concrete evidence that Syria’s government has used sarin gas in it’s struggle against rebel forces trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad from power.

France “now is certain that sarin gas was used in Syria multiple times and in a localized way,” according to a statement issued by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.

The British government subsequently repeated a previous assessment that “a growing body of limited but persuasive information” suggests that sarin has been used.

An independent U.N. panel report released on Tuesday said that “[t]here are reasonable grounds to believe that chemical agents have been used as weapons. The precise agents, delivery systems or perpetrators could not be identified.”


In other news:

  • President Obama will reportedly nominate U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice as his next national security adviser and replace Rice with Samantha Power, who served as a senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights on the National Security Council during Obama’s first term.
  • The Hill reports: Members of Congress called on the Obama administration to reconsider aid to Egypt after a court on Tuesday sentenced 16 Americans to prison for allegedly seeking to undermine the government.
  • The Hill also reports: The House on Tuesday evening defeated a Democratic attempt to let the government spend money to expand U.S. prisons so they can house terrorist suspects now held in Guantanamo Bay. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) proposed an amendment to the military construction spending bill for 2014 that would kill language prohibiting funds from being used to expand U.S. prisons for this purpose.
  • The New York Times reports: NATO is sending a team of experts to Libya to assess how the alliance can provide security assistance, notably military training, to help the turbulent North African nation combat Islamist militants claiming allegiance to Al Qaeda and other threats.