New Syria Chemical Weapons Removal ProposalPosted: September 11, 2013
Like everyone else, I’m following the news about the Russian proposal for Syrian chemical weapons to be surrendered to international inspectors, and removed from Syrian territory. The narrative of how this came about, including Kerry’s gaffe turned diplomatic opportunity, makes for diverting reading. Whatever its provenance, it does seem to have come at an opportune moment for President Obama, providing him a welcome escape out of his self-imposed predicament of an imminent “no” vote from Congress on his plan for missile strikes on Syria.
I’m still listening to the idea as its being spun out by – whoever is spinning it. And in theory it sounds like a fine idea. But color me a pessimist at the moment that this would in reality do any more than to provide President Obama a face-saving exit, at least in the short term, from his political mess, and give Assad a way to neutralize the threat of US military force while requiring only that he play along with an international inspection and removal operation that will take years to complete, and that would never be able to provide any real assurance that he won’t have more chemical weapons readily available to him if he wants them.
This CNN article, referencing the experience of inspectors in Iraq and noting the challenges facing the implementation of this idea in Syria, pretty well expresses my view at this point.