"Syrian President Bashar al-Assad yesterday agreed to put his chemical weapons arsenal under international control if the US dropped its threat to attack" (Ref Daily Mirror 13 Sept).
Assad has therefore admitted he has chemical weapons for he first time. And it seems most people now accept he has used them to murder at least 1,500 of his alleged 100,000 plus victims. Assad has also suggested he will only decommission them because of Russian diplomacy.
Russian diplomacy and Russian involvement in destroying his chemical weapons is "sound". United Nations diplomacy, huge amounts spent on weapons inspectors and UN humanitarian aid appears to be completely wasted on this man.
I am disgusted he has been allowed to carry on like this. I want the UN to have more teeth than the League of Nations who stood by whilst countless people lost their lives. Can the world's politicians no longer oust a murdering tyrant (alleged) and bring him to trial in an international court?
It is likely that the US will drop its demand for chapter 7 "teeth" in an upcoming agreement with Russia which is focused on getting some kind of peace talks or at least cease fire under way. A cease fire would at least put a pause on the bloodshed.
At the same time the US has made it clear that it reserves the right to a military strike with or without a UN sanction.
From the US point of view the deal which is shaping up is quite good. No boots on the ground, no strikes, peace of a sort. Avoidance of leaking weapons into Al-Queda and the loony fringe of the Sunni. Wedge driven between Iran and Hezbollah in the Lebanon so no attack on Israel which will be left alone to finish eating what is left of Palestine.
For the Russians at best Syria will become a lame duck client with UN inspectors and islands of Sunni opposition where the rebels can lick their wounds and recuperate. It will no longer be able to operate as a weapons pipeline for Iran/Hezbollah. Russia's main gain is avoiding WMD leaking back into Russia via Chechnya - make no mistake if the Chechens were able to launch a sarin attack in Moscow they would.
Say Assad defaults and rejects or makes impossible any kind of peace settlement supported by the Russians or gas inspections. The US will just revert to the big bazooka having gone more than the extra mile for negotiated peace.
If Putin and the press want to present this as some kind of Russian win then fine, what's the harm ? Putin will lose his client state no need to make eat crow pie on top.
My guess is that Assad will defy Russia, play hide and seek with the UN and block any prospect of Geneva2. There can only be one of two responses to that:
(a) US gets out out the big bazooka followed by (b)
(b) Russian arranges a new more pliable leader in Damascus one way or the other
It is messy, painful and not very neat. As there is no appetite for war in the EU or the USA it is difficult to see how else it can be.
Brave Dave has messed around with that well oiled machine the British Constitution like a kid with an old clock. He has brought in one novelty after another all of which have blown up in his face.
The latest is abrogation of the executive power of declaring war. There is no way the parliament of August 1939 would have voted for war. They didn';t have to.
Very interesting post as always, Rollo. Had not heard expression "eat crow pie" before.
Was watching debate on Question Time very late last night/this morning. Lot of dicussion about this abrogation of executive power of declaring war. I was amazed when Ed Milliband asked him that question after the vote had been lost by 13 votes (Labour plus a few others opposed Cameron's rather anemic motion). Cameron did appear to hold his hands up in a rather petulant way and tell Milliband something like "Parliament has spoken, we will not engage militarily whatever happens".
The shock on Milliband and Balls faces when Cameron said that we would never consider any miltary action in Syria told me that they were very shocked. And last night on QT, Chuku Umuna (Labour Shadow Minister and rising star) confirmed that, I believe.
The US Secretary of State and the Russian Foreign Minister have announced a joint proposal calling for Syrian President Bashar-al Assad to submit details of all chemical weapons held by the regime within a week.
Speaking at a jointly-held press conference with Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, John Kerry said the two countries had “laid the groundwork to end bloodshed” in Syria by reaching an agreed proposal calling for Mr Assad to submit all details of chemical stockpiles and give inspectors from the Organisation and Prevention of Chemical Weapons full access ahead of their destruction.
Mr Kerry said that, under the pact, Syria must submit a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within one week.
He said they had agreed that "there is no military solution to the conflict in Syria - it has to be political".
"We will find a political solution through diplomacy", he added.
The deal includes a timetable and points on how Syria must proceed. Should Syria fail to comply, the two countries will seek a UN resolution under Chapter VII that could authorise military, or further non-military, action.
Mr Kerry warned that the agreement arrived at over the past three days left "no room for games" from Assad.
He said "diplomacy requires willing partners", and thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for being forthcoming in the negotiations to bring an end to Syrian chemical weapons.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said they had reached a decision "in record time" on a proposal, before thanking "our American partners, especially John Kerry" for the constructive meeting aimed at putting Syrian arsenals under international control and, ultimately, their destruction.
Mr Lavrov also asked for full accountability from the Assad regime.
“Any violations of procedures ... would be looked at by the Security Council and if they are approved, the Security Council would take the required measures, concrete measures,” Mr Lavrov said. “Nothing is said about the use of force or about any automatic sanctions. All violations should be approved by the Security Council.”
Had not seen that, Rollo. Many thanks for posting.
That chilly meeting between all the leaders last week may have led to the beginning of collaborative repair of the Syrian nation of 22m people (over 5m of whom are now away from their home towns and is many cases refugees in other countries). And USA and Russia should be able to repair the damaged political and economic infrastructure very quickly once they achieve a new government and economy. And humanitarian aid can flood in without aid workers risking their lives to help these poor people. Or is is too early to be hopeful?
Well I'll make my answer short and sweet....Thank the Lord for that
RolloTheRed - very interesting and informative comments, personally I still think that Assad will try to play a drawn out game of hide and seek with Russia and the UN :-(
he will hand them over
just as soon as he hides the really good stuff :-( :-(