Dutch Prime Minister Rutte suppressed an investigation into the Dutch government’s support for armed groups in Syria.
It was a seldom-seen moment on Dutch TV. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was put under pressure by a journalist from a national TV channel during a press conference. This is unheard of in The Netherlands. The press usually treats the Prime Minister with silk gloves, and they usually let him get away with everything. “We have heard you are obstructing a motion in Parliament to initiate an independent, external investigation into the Dutch support of Syrian rebels,” the journalist said. “Can you explain why you don’t want such investigation?” First Rutte reacted as if he didn’t know what the journalist was talking about, but when asked again, he answered he wasn’t sure about it but that he thought ‘the government’ had advised against the motion. This tickled the journalist to ask: “Did you personally interfere with the motion?” Rutte then answered evasively: “I interfere in a great number of cases, but I can’t go into detail about it.”
Why did Rutte interfere? According to him, an investigation could lead to “tensions with our allies” and “the lives of former members of opposition groups could be put at stake”.
National newspaper Trouw and the current affairs programme Nieuwsuur managed to identify some of the so called ‘moderate rebels’ that had received relief goods from the Dutch government. Among them was Jabhat al-Shamiya, also known as the…