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White House Faced with Increasingly Likely Prospect that Assad Will Violate Deal

Red-line reckoning as Syria has disposed of just a tad of its chemical weapons; Kerry expects Russia to help.

by
Bridget Johnson

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January 31, 2014 - 11:05 pm
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WASHINGTON — The White House tried to hold on to hope this week as its Syrian disarmament strategy falls apart, with Secretary of State John Kerry admitting Friday that the U.S. is leaning on Russia to urge Bashar al-Assad to come into compliance with Washington’s “red line” deal.

Less than 5 percent of the priority 1 chemical weapons in Assad’s stockpile, including agents like the nerve gas sarin, have been removed from the country and the regime appears to be making no effort to liquidate the rest as agreed.

That just includes chemical agents that the U.S. knows about, and wouldn’t include stockpiles that may have been scuttled off to Hezbollah or Iran for safekeeping as Assad negotiated a deal to avoid U.S. “red line” strikes.

“The international community is poised and ready to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons as soon as the chemicals have reached the Syrian Port of Latakia. It is the Assad regime’s responsibility to transport the chemicals to Latakia safely to facilitate their removal. And we expect them to meet their obligation to do so,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

“We all know the Syrian regime has the capability to move these weapons. We know that because they’ve been moved multiple times before, during the conflict. …So we’re going to continue to work with our partners on this to keep up the pressure on the Assad regime and to support the OPCW-U.N. joint mission’s operations.”

Carney quoted UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as saying, “The Syrian Arab Republic has sufficient material and equipment necessary to carry out multiple ground movements to ensure the expeditious removal of chemical weapons material, and that it is imperative that Syria intensifies its efforts to expedite in-country movements of chemical weapons and continues to meet its obligations.”

When asked what happens if Assad doesn’t follow through, Carney wouldn’t wade into ultimatum territory.

“Well, again, they have obligation here. They have committed to doing this. This is a regime that refused to acknowledge that it possessed chemical weapons until a very short time ago and has now committed to not only acknowledging that it possesses the weapons, but moving them so they can be destroyed,” he said. ”And the United States and our partners in this effort will insist that Syria meet its commitments.”

A senior administration official on a State Department conference call with reporters Friday said he wasn’t in the room with U.S. and Syrian negotiators at peace talks this past week, but “I have never heard that the chemical weapons issues came up in any serious way during this week of talks here in Geneva.”

“I don’t know that the chemical weapons issue darkened the talks here, but there is a credibility issue for the Syrian government, whether it be with respect to chemical weapons, and whether or not it would implement any deal that was ever reached here in Geneva, if we do get to a deal,” the official said.

“Right now we’re trying to see if the Syrian government will actually lock on and, through serious messages from the international community, begin to move the material. But of course, there is a Security Council resolution and there are references in that resolution to what would happen were the Syrian government not to comply with the Security Council resolutions requirements. So that resolution is in place. And ultimately if we have to go down that route, we’ll go down that route.”

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Top Rated Comments   
We all know that Assad has the ability to move around the weapons of mass destruction, to hide them and to deny he had them and to hand them off to partners for safe keeping.

Unlike Saddam, who we all knew had no ability to do any of those things...because....Bush!!!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Talk is cheap and I think we all knew this was going to happen. What happens when Iran gets the bomb? Assad will even care less about destroying his own chemical weapons.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (26)
All Comments   (26)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
"Increasingly Iikely Prospect..."


Um, no.

It was always a dead certainty.


The when and the how were TBD, that's all.



32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Why not? Seems everyone else this Administration deals with double crosses these idiots.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
The only person who will be surprised is John Kerry. He will be surprised that any human being would have the audacity to lie to such a magnificent enlighten person such as himself. In the real world they play hardball, not badminton. This is not the world of privilege that you know John, it it the brutal world of survival. No Marquess of Queensberry Rules.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
How anyone could be so naive to think that Assad would keep any deal is beyond me. A sucker is born every minute...
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who really cares? The Middle East is and always will be a mess. Let those American war mongers like John McCain and Hilary Clinton lose sleep over their little game of thrones.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I simply don't care. I don't care about Iraq. I don't care about Iran. I don't care about Afghanistan. I don't care about Assad or Lebanon. I am not willing to spend one more American dime trying to civilize them, and certainly not one more American life trying to show them how to behave. Since they are born and bred to kill each other with unflagging gusto, we should step back and let them have at it.

Going forward, I would have us limit any further immigration from any Muslim country. And announce that if there is a repeat of 9/11, we will immediately nuke the entire Middle East and then quarantine it for 50 years.

I don't want to read any more about riots or fledgling democracies or Arab springs or suicide bombers. Let them have at it, while we concentrate on things that actually matter, such as the Marxist alien currently inhabiting the Presidency of the United States. (You are free to decide for yourself if he's an illegal alien or a Martian. Or both.)
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sounds great. I hope you also mean that you won't want the U.S. to stand in the way of Israel having to do what is necessary for its survival, and I don't mean establishing a 23rd Arab state.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Actually, I do care about Israel and would aid and abet them in whatever they deem necessary. If we have to nuke and quarantine the Middle East, then we can invite the Israelis to come to America and give them their own country here. Carve out part of Alaska or Texas or Montana or one of the Hawaiian islands. Maybe Puerto Rico since no one is really using that currently. Their choice.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
"The mother of a British doctor who was tortured and killed last month in one of Assad’s prisons protested outside the Geneva II talks"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2549482/Fatima-Khan-mother-British-doctor-Abbas-Khan-killed-Syria-claims-regime-taunted-death.html
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
I struggle with the premise that somehow Assad was previously less likely to violate the deal... is it more of a White House that is increasingly willing to concede that Assad negotiated in bad faith? Perhaps Heinz-Kerry was naive enough to trust his former dinner companion but frankly if anyone in the state department trusted Assad then they are unfit to hold their posts and should resign immediately.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
We all know that Assad has the ability to move around the weapons of mass destruction, to hide them and to deny he had them and to hand them off to partners for safe keeping.

Unlike Saddam, who we all knew had no ability to do any of those things...because....Bush!!!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yes, well, Bashar is the retired opthamologist who inherited his nice (?) job after his older brother, heir-apparent, died in a mysterious car crash years ago. OTOH, Saddam was a simple villager who managed to rise to the top of the Iraqi cr*p-pile by maneuvering, killing, manipulation of alliances, and jousting with the outside world for more than thirty years. Clearly Bashar is, like, way smarter..
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Talk is cheap and I think we all knew this was going to happen. What happens when Iran gets the bomb? Assad will even care less about destroying his own chemical weapons.
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama and John Kerry have exactly 5 months to deliver.

Otherwise the Emperor with no clothes will have his fig leaf taken away just in time when the 2014 mid term elections heat up.

ENJOY!
32 weeks ago
32 weeks ago Link To Comment
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