Top of the Morning: Chemical Weapons in Syria; New Mali Peacekeeping Mission

Top stories from DAWNS Digest

US Believes Chemical Weapons Used in Syria

The evidence that Assad has used chemical weapons against his own people has been mounting, along with pressure on the US to do something concrete about it. What remains to be seen is what the Obama administration will choose to do about it. “In an unclassified letter sent to senators, the White House says U.S. intelligence believes ‘with varying degrees of confidence that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons on a small scale in Syria, specifically the chemical agent sarin.’ …The White House said the assessment is preliminary and is not enough to change the U.S. ‘decision-making’ on the issue because ‘credible and corroborated’ facts are needed to guide U.S. policy.” (Voice of America

Security Council Approves Mali Peacekeeping Mission

After months of negotiations, the UN Security Council approved the creation of a 12,600 Mali peacekeeping force beginning July 1. “France, aided by some 2,000 troops from Chad, began a military offensive in January to drive out Islamist fighters, who had hijacked a revolt by Mali’s Tuareg rebels and seized two-thirds of Mali. The U.N. peacekeeping force – to be known as MINUSMA – will assume authority from a U.N.-backed African force deployed there to take over from the French. Most of the African force, known as AFISMA, is likely to become part of the peacekeeping operation, diplomats say.” (Reuters