Agreement reached on Syria

It looks like a workable deal has been reached on what to do about Syrian chemical weapons.

The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons and said Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week.

The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.

Kerry said that the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin next year.

Senior administration officials had said Friday the Obama administration would not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons.

The Russians had made clear in talks here between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry that the negotiations could not proceed under the threat of a U.N. resolution authorizing a military strike. Russia also wanted assurances that a resolution would not refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible war-crimes prosecution.

Now that Syria has agreed to sign the 1993 international Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), one hopes that pressure will be brought to bear on the eight remaining holdouts (“Burma and Israel have signed but not ratified, while Angola, North Korea, Egypt, South Sudan and Syria have neither signed nor ratified”) to also do so.

The chattering classes who were hoping for a lovely new war to break up the tedium of their lives must be disappointed at this turn of events, although they can always hope that something will happen to cause the deal to unravel and can begin to rev up the engines for war again. Meanwhile they will go back to their usual topics: Is this good for Obama? What impact will it have on the 2014 and 2016 elections? And what does this mean for Israel?

The civil war and the massive refugee problems still remain, of course.


  1. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    Well, they can always just insist that the inspections are incomplete or that we have secret and unsharable evidence that they still have chemical weapons. At this point, I wouldn’t put it past the Obama administration, given the telltale caveat in their statement.

  2. says

    The whole question that started this was that Syria (supposedly) had used chemical weapons on its population. Somehow that morphed into an attempt to disarm the Syrian state of its WMD – a completely different objective. If the issue is Syria’s using WMD why not agree that everyone will stop them if they do it again, and put in place some inspectors to verify if the Syrians look like they’re getting ready to use them? Then the international community could negotiate with whatever power emerges in Syria, regarding WMD, at a later time. It’s almost as if “we” didn’t give a flying fuck about the use of WMD that took place and are simply leaping all over ourselves the minute our blatantly illegal threats appeared to be gaining traction. By all means, keep using machine guns and tanks to suppress your people – ‘cuz that’s moral as hell.

    As usual, this is nothing about Syria and everything about Israel’s desire to be the only state in the middle east with WMD.

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