Did Syria Agree to Hand Russia Its Chemical Weapons? (Updates)
Russia Today, which is funded by the Russian government, reports that Assad has accepted a request to put Syria's chemical weapons into Russian hands.
Damascus welcomes Russia’s call to hand control over its chemical weapons to the international community, the Syrian Foreign Minister said responding to Sergey Lavrov's statement after the two met in the Russian capital.
“Syria Arab Republic welcomes Russia’s initiative, based on the Syrian’s government care about the lives of our people and security of our country,” Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem said in response to the statement by his Russian counterpart.
“We are calling on the Syrian authorities not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier.
Britain has responded to the Russia-Syria dialogue, saying that the chemical weapons handover idea for Syria must not be used as a “distraction tactic”.
Well-played, Vlad. Well-played indeed.
There is no way for the U.S. or the UN to verify the facts on the ground apart from ruthless inspections across years, or occupation of Syria. The first was tried during the Saddam years, and didn't really work. The second is a non-starter. John Kerry's "unbelievably small" strike won't get there.
So we're left trusting Assad and Putin, or hitting Syria despite its stated promise to hand its nasties over to the Russians, as helpfully reported by a Russian government mouthpiece.
The Obama administration can always choose to ignore this report, but that will just play into Russia's hands. The "reset" and the "reformer" are working together against the unbelievably inept and increasingly deranged Obama administration.
This won't end well.
Update: The Obama administration probably can't ignore the story now that Western media are picking up on it. Obama has managed to turn Vladimir Putin into the world's peacemaker.
This won't end well.
Update: The U.S. State Department is taking a "hard look" at the proposal, according to the AP.
Update: I'm getting a little static for the difference between Russian and "international community" control of the chemical weapons in the RT story above. I wrote a bit too quickly, but what does "international community" mean in this context? Hardly anyone is on the American side here -- we're even losing France, mon Dieu! Russia and Syria appear to have cooked up this weapons handover gambit after Secretary Kerry's earlier remarks opened up the opportunity to put the US in a corner, a sort of "put up or shut up" to him, not Syria. The "anti-war" president and his off-the-cuff government may, at best, be leading the US right back to where it was with respect to Iraq before the second Gulf War, manning a lonely vigil against a rogue state while the likes of Russia pretend to play along but undercut us at every turn, and the "international community" engages in the son of Oil For Food. At worst, he's leading us toward an ill-considered, unilateral and probably illegal war...on behalf of al Qaeda, more or less.