Here comes the part where Assad plays the part of Saddam Hussein, and uses the negotiations over his WMDs to string things out indefinitely. The Russians play the part that the Russians have always played.
Mr. Assad outlined his demands on Thursday, telling a Russian TV interviewer that the arms-control proposal floated by his patron in Moscow would not be finalized until “we see the United States really wants stability in our region and stops threatening, striving to attack and also ceases arms deliveries to terrorists.”
Mr. Assad, sounding relaxed and confident, hinted in his interview that the Russian proposal — which requires Syria to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention — could become a lever for endless negotiations and delays, much as Saddam Hussein delayed arms control inspectors during the 1990s. “It doesn’t mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfill the obligations, and that’s it,” Mr. Assad said.
The state-owned Syrian newspaper Al Watan put it bluntly in a headline on Thursday: “Moscow and Damascus pull the rug out from under the feet of Obama.”
There’s a bear in the woods, and it’s nurturing its cub. Obama and Kerry are looking for the nearest tree to climb.