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Italian FM Bonino warns of ‘selective intelligence’ on Syria

August 28th, 2013
05:15 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino on Wednesday injected a heavy dose of scepticism into the debate over whether the West should intervene in Syria in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

“Selective intelligence has already been a cause of some other intervention, which didn’t prove very positive,” Bonino said, referring to the war in Iraq.

“I strongly believe that chemical weapons are a crime against humanity and what happened is really unacceptable, and the responsible have to be brought to be accountable,” she said, but added that it is not “wise” to intervene without United Nations Security Council approval.

“It’s also worrying that people are already preparing a coalition of the willing even before tabling a resolution at the UN,” she said. “Frankly, I don’t know what they – this coalition is really willing to do. Punish Assad? Ending the conflict? I don’t know. It’s totally not clear to me.”

The United Kingdom on Wednesday met with the other four permanent members of the UN Security Council to discuss a possible resolution on Syria; but the full Council did not meet, which would have to happen for a resolution to be approved.

“We should be very, very cautious in intervening again in what is already a powderkeg,” Bonino told Amanpour.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Italy • Latest Episode • Syria
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. mike

    carwords die many times b4 their death

    August 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  2. felix ogugbuaja

    I think apart from the moral issues, there is also the question of "How safe are Syrians in the hands of a regime that is
    gassing civilians it supposes to protect? Is it morally right for the international community to fold it's hands and watch atrocities being committed against humanity? Since diplomacy has failed, to recommend non action amounts to condemning Syrians to annihilation.

    August 28, 2013 at 7:02 pm | Reply
    • Ludovick S Mwijage

      I can't agree with you more.

      August 29, 2013 at 1:01 am | Reply
    • Milos

      That is assuming it was Asad who used chemical weapons and not the al-qa'ida rebels who seem to profit the most from it.

      August 29, 2013 at 1:22 am | Reply
      • ahsan

        I agree.

        August 29, 2013 at 10:54 pm |
    • Steve

      Diplomacy has not failed yet. In fact, no realistic political solution was ever seriously sought. The idea that a military operation in Syria without UN approval will be effective in weakening Assad's regime and relieving the pains of the Syrian people seems to me just delusional. Wise words from Bonino.

      August 29, 2013 at 6:48 am | Reply
    • Mario

      "a part from the moral issue" is there any other issue then the moral one? Moral issue meaning: to do what is right. If you don't do what is right what are you exactly doing?
      Moreover, you haven't watched the "regime" gassing anyone because that is just a lie, a fabrication.Just like the WMD Saddam was supposedly hiding.
      Besides are you going to Syria to do justice or are you sending someone else? And are these people who go there paid voluntarily by the people or through taxation and therefore the use of force?
      Going back to "regime" (like in the US there is not one)! Anyway do you remember the story of the pirate brought in front of the emperor Alexander the great? The Emperor angrily demanded of him (the pirate), "How dare you molest the seas?" To which the pirate replied, "How dare you molest the whole world? Because I do it with a small boat, I am called a pirate and a thief. You, with a great navy, molest the world and are called an emperor."

      August 29, 2013 at 8:59 am | Reply
      • Ebny Cuk

        LOL. Your analogy is brilliant, sorry i had to laugh but you make a lot of sense.

        September 5, 2013 at 3:44 am |
    • scrut

      If the "international community" was really so concerned with the wellbeing of the Syrian people, it should not have actively fueled the war by supplying the FSA or the associated terrorists with weapons, intelligence, money or training.

      As a German war analyst said a while ago: "If Syria was left to its own devices, there wouldn't have been a war."

      August 30, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Reply
  3. D

    If we waited UN, war in Bosnia would still be going on... And how many UN resolution never applied? Emma, you should retire...

    August 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  4. The Thinker1958

    sadly, the US has a way of making up stuff that will end with the US going to war (Vietnam, Iraq). Now Israel also advices to believe the US... that just make me think Israel might be behind this US going to war.

    August 28, 2013 at 7:30 pm | Reply
  5. MOHAMMAD AJMAL

    I'm 22 years old . And I thing is the mother of 3rd world war . If the other country is interfering there matter . .

    August 29, 2013 at 12:54 am | Reply
  6. Oten oluawo

    U S OF A. WE are it again y cant Americans leaves d nations alone to determine their future, i understand that any war fought by usa they stand to gain some other things like oil n dictate who to rule n who not to rule,Isreal use chemical wepon against palestine ,usa ddnt do anything. For God sake u .made d world believed Sadam is another hitler who posess wmd yet nothing was found when he was toppled by u.Iraq problem yet to abate.let d so called supper power beware :its not forever.

    August 29, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Reply
    • ahsan

      Could you rewrite that in English please. Thank you.

      August 29, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Reply
  7. Jaffari Buyogera

    Me I dont think USA has to into this I tell the World to go to the UN not indivisual powefull Western countries to dictate the issue why are they not solving Palestine problem fist? Africans need to be carefull with Arab Affairs you were let down by the Arab League during Libyan problem Koffi Annan because is black they never accepted him, President of South Africa went in under AU he was neglected. So let the white whip teach them if they think thats what they need. This is shame on them fighting ethenically than being political

    August 29, 2013 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  8. kcrally

    Baghdad, Damascus, Tripoli, 3 of the greatest most historical cities in the World.

    August 30, 2013 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  9. doabitofhomework

    There's a BIG can of worms about this most recent chemical attack in Syria. I wonder how many others have noticed it?

    The attack targeted a civilian community, not the rebel opposition. Why? What reason could Assad have had to do something like that? The rebels were close by, yet I doubt if any of them died in the attack. If any, they were few indeed. Why? That is profoundly...odd.

    By what quirky logic would Assad invite investigators, wait until they arrived, and only THEN launch a major chem attack? And within spitting distance of where the investigators were. To do so would be blatantly self-destructive. So is Assad self-destructive? Doubtful.

    It is assumed that the opposition didn't have the wherewithal to launch a rocket with chemicals. It's an assumption only, not a fact. The rebels have access to bountiful resources from all over the Islamist communities. Gaza launches rockets daily. Might they have spared one for use in Syria? Might the rebels have constructed a rocket of their own to get the precise response the world has been making? Is there any evidence at ALL that they couldn't? Or didn't? Nobody bothered to investigate that, even as a possibility – hence the assumption that they COULDN'T have done it.

    That's just NOT good enough.

    Since when do we use our military might on a "likelihood"? It does seem extremely likely that the regime launched the attack, but there is no hard evidence of it. Moreover, it flies in the face of reason to think Assad did it.

    Moreover, the investigation was focused on finding culpability in the regime. Nobody was even considering the rebels, except to rule them out as the perpetrators, based on the fact that they didn't LOOK for such evidence at all. If it WAS done by the rebels, just how would the world be able to punish them for it? Is it fair that we can only punish the regime, and not the rebels? Supposedly it doesn't matter who uses them, but in reality, in practice, it DOES.

    Muslims are masters of mental manipulation and propaganda; they've been at it for 1400 years. Both sides here are Muslim. We can expect both to lie like rugs. Not just the regime. If we strike the "wrong" perpetrator, we'd be actually encouraging the use of chemical weapons for the real perp. Can we afford to be wrong here?

    The prime question in seeking out the actual perpetrator is a classic one: "WHO GAINS?"

    In this case the only gain is for the opposition. Assad could only LOSE by making that attack. That alone should be enough to give pause to any decision to attack the regime.

    On top of all that, Assad was resoundly winning in the battles. He had less reason than usual for launching a chem attack. To assume he was just testing the resolution of the international community to act on the atrocity just isn't enough. It doesn't come out in the wash.

    The can of worms here is that the opposition somehow managed to launch the attack, and the goal was to blame it on Assad, to get military help from the West in conquering their enemy. They've done stuff like this before. Muslims of the "Arab Spring" repeatedly declared how they "yearned" for democracy, rights and liberties, yet when they won (often with OUR help), they turned their countries into new Islamic States, one after another, bing, bing, bing. They'll do likewise in Syria.

    The goal of Islamists is to wazoo the West, whom they hate passionately, to help them win their holy wars. And, because of their expertise in propaganda, they've gotten their wish – more than once.

    I feel a certainty that the opposition was the perpetrator of the chem attack. What will happen if we attack Syria and only THEN learn the truth? To attack a non-perpetrator will encourage the opposition to use more chemicals in the future.

    Have we given any thought to these things at the governmental level? I would remind them that a "likelihood" is NOT evidence, not a reality. There's no shame in waiting until we have HARD EVIDENCE.

    To commit our military, even in a "limited form" on a "strong likelihood" just isn't good enough. We'd need HARD evidence, the kind that would hold water in a court of law. Lacking that, we should not use our military. Strike Assad, instead, with sanctions, removing ambassadors, embargoes, etc. Even a limited strike could evolve into protracted war, and with other countries like Iran, getting involved. It's not worth it for a mere "likelihood."

    August 30, 2013 at 8:14 pm | Reply
    • M.A.P.

      Well put, I don't think a war should be started because a regime "most likely" carried out a chemical attack. To send rockets to kill people, you should be 100 % sure you know who and why you are attacking. "Probably" just doesn'T cut it.

      September 5, 2013 at 6:40 am | Reply
  10. Olga petrucci

    The predator can be punished at any time. The victims, refugees, civilians, are those who need help.

    September 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm | Reply
  11. Marie Oliva

    What exactly does punishing the Assad regime mean? If we bomb Syria, we are also killing innocent civilians and hurting the country, making it much more fragile. How is this a solution to the civil conflict? And what kind of proof of the Assad regime responsibility for the gas attack are western allies seeking?

    September 3, 2013 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  12. M.A.P.

    The "overwhelming evidence" that Obama and Kerry keep speaking of is what exactly? A YouTube video? What is sending a few missiles actually going to achieve other than to annoy the Russians, Iranians and any other foe of the west? I am totally against Assad's regime, but there is unfortunately not enough evidence to determine if the regime was really behind the attack. We all know how much Al Quaeda love sacrificing "matyrs" for the cause so I wouldnt be suprised if they really were brehind the chemical attack, in the hope that the US would intervene.

    September 5, 2013 at 6:37 am | Reply
  13. Veronique Nedelec

    Amanpur is always pitiying the Syrians on that I agree but she never sends her son husband or anyone of her family to fight, it is always yours and mine that go and never come back. Then get a nickel medal. Come on send some one of your own. Then you have a right to comment. Veronique Nedelec

    September 7, 2013 at 9:54 am | Reply

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