Saturday, September 14, 2013

U.S., Russia Agree on Plan on Syrian Chemical Weapons

Hey, maybe Obama's finally off the hook.

Putin pulled O's chestnuts out of the fire, and good thing too. It's been unbearable to watch all this time.

At WSJ, "Target Is for Damascus to Destroy Stockpiles by Early 2014":

GENEVA—The U.S. and Russia agreed Saturday on a broad framework for destroying Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons by the first half of next year.

Under the agreement between Moscow and Washington, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must provide a complete list of the types, quantity and locations of his country's chemical-weapons stockpiles to the Hague-based Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons by next Friday.

The plan will be codified in a U.N. Security Council resolution that won't rely on a threat of military action for enforcement, officials indicated. The U.S., France and Western allies had favored arming any U.N. resolution with a threat of force for noncompliance. But opposition from Moscow forced the Obama administration to drop the demand to pursue a diplomatic outcome and avoid U.S. military action.

Instead of a threat of force, an initial U.N. resolution will put into effect the process of inspection and destruction of Syria's chemical warfare infrastructure. If inspectors complain of noncompliance, a second U.N. resolution could be adopted under a U.N. rules that in some instances allows for the use of force.

However, Russia's opposition to force makes it nearly certain that any U.N. resolution on Syria will avoid military penalties, U.S. officials acknowledge, while reserving the right for military strikes by the U.S. acting on its own or with allies.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Saturday that the agreement marked progress in U.S.-Russian ties and "represents an important, concrete step" toward disarming Syria of chemical weapons. But he also insisted that the Assad regime live up to the agreement and indicated that if it didn't, the U.S. could respond militarily.

"This framework provides the opportunity for the elimination of Syrian chemical weapons in a transparent, expeditious, and verifiable manner, which could end the threat these weapons pose not only to the Syrian people but to the region and the world," Mr. Obama said in a statement. "And, if diplomacy fails, the United States remains prepared to act."
Hey, let's take the military option off the table... Wonderful, for Russia and Syria!

Assad will be playing cat and mouse from the outset with no fears of hard military reprisals. And Russia's  restored to key geopolitical player. Thank goodness! Now the Obama amateurs are breathing a sigh of relief at the White House and State Department. Vladimir is the man!

More at the link.

And see, "Four Reasons the Syria Deal Could Fall Apart," and "Syria Deal Revives a Partisan Divide: Republicans, Democrats Split After Brief Accord on Military Action."