Syria accepts chemical weapons proposal

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The Syrian government supports a proposal to put its chemical weapons under international control as a way to avert a Western military strike, Syria's prime minister said Tuesday.

The Russian plan "aims to stop the Syrian bloodshed and prevent a war," Wael Nader Al-Halqi said, according to Syrian state television.

Earlier, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem as saying the country had accepted the proposal after "a very fruitful round of talks" with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.
If this is true .. GAME OVER .. Russia and the Syrian people win.

PARIS/AMMAN (Reuters) - Syria accepted a Russian proposal on Tuesday to give up chemical weapons and win a reprieve from U.S. strikes, while its warplanes bombed rebel positions in Damascus for the first time since the West threatened military action.


Syria's rebels reacted with deep dismay to the proposal, which would halt Western military action to punish President Bashar al-Assad's forces for a poison gas attack that killed hundreds of people in a Damascus suburb last month.


While the diplomatic wrangling was under way in far-flung capitals, Assad's warplanes bombed rebellious districts of Damascus on Tuesday for the first time since the August 21 poison gas attacks. Rebels said the air strikes were a demonstration that the government now believed the West had lost its nerve.

"By sending the planes back, the regime is sending the message that it no longer feels international pressure," activist Wasim al-Ahmad said from Mouadamiya, one of the districts of the capital hit by the chemical attack.


Assad's forces - which had been withdrawing from fixed positions and bracing for expected Western strikes - appear to have responded to the hesitation by redoubling an offensive to clear fighters from Damascus suburbs.

Brilliant move that will allow for the UN report to be completed, and for Assad to continue to destroy the Al Qaeda opposition.

Syria is not a party to international treaties which ban the stockpiling of chemical weapons, but it signed the Geneva conventions that forbid using them in warfare. Syria has tried to avoid confirming whether it possesses poison gas, while denying it has used it.

Human Rights Watch, the New York-based watchdog, said evidence strongly suggested Syrian government forces were behind the attack. It said in a report that the type of rockets and launchers used in the attacks suggested weapon systems in the possession only of government forces.

from the article
assad has even refused to admit he owned these weapons until Monday when he said he would give them up.

Dudes he had been asked to give them up already.

You can tell by the way Kerry talked about it
at the last minute he saw Obama was dead serious.

so he caved.

and you prefer to lavish your praise on the Russian dictator who should not even be in office
Earlier, Russia's Interfax news agency quoted Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem as saying the country had accepted the proposal after "a very fruitful round of talks" with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday.

Gazprom is pleased.
Now Obama is going to have to explain to Lockheed Martin that his Diplomacy worked?.....That would be an abrasive conversation.
Poor Desh. Looks like you may not get to bomb anyone.

So you're predicting no war? Why is it that you don't have the courage to state your choice on my thread to that effect? Are you just carelessly shooting off your mouth without any conviction that there won't be a war?
Oh Nos!!! Back to the UN for lots and lots of talks. Well that will be after tonight's speech.

Yes, Russia might oppose its own Syria plan. Here’s why.
By Max Fisher, Updated: September 10, 2013
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discusses Syria in Moscow. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discusses Syria in Moscow. (YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images

It seemed like the mother of all Russian diplomatic pranks: just one day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov proposed that Syria give up its chemical weapons to international control in exchange for the U.S. calling off strikes, an idea that was embraced in Washington as well as Damascus, Russian diplomats reportedly signaled that they might oppose that very same plan at the United Nations.

Alerts from Agence France-Presse and Reuters, citing the French foreign minister, said that Russia was uncomfortable with the idea of a binding United Nations Security Council resolution to enforce their own plan. Reuters’ Louis Charbonneau reported that Russia would only support a non-binding “presidential statement,” which is a step up from a press release.

Why on earth would Russia work to undermine its own plan just 24 hours after first proposing it? There are three ways to think about this: the optimistic view, the pessimistic view and the middle-ground.

Many observers are likely to take the pessimistic view: that Russia never seriously planned on following through with its proposal to scoop up Syria’s chemical weapons. This has all been a shell game from the start, a ploy to delay U.S. strikes and box in President Obama while Syria continues acting with impunity. This is just the start of a Russian strategy of dangling deals in front of the U.S. and then yanking them away. Russia knows that many members of Congress will pressure Obama to pursue the proposal, even if Obama believes it’s just a bluff. That could spark even more disagreement within the U.S. and delay strikes further, maybe indefinitely.

The optimistic view is that this is just a negotiating tactic, a wholly foreseeable play by Russian diplomats who really do want to see their plan go through but also want to make sure they have a hand in crafting it. By feinting away from support, Russia can force the three Western members of the UN Security Council (France, the U.S. and Britain) to give Moscow some concessions on the plan. That debate will likely turn on whether the plan would be authorized under Chapter 7 of the UN charter, which was used with Libya and which could permit for the use of force against Syria if it doesn’t comply. Think Progress blogger and United Nations procedure nerd Hayes Brown has some smart thoughts on how this would work, posted below (“P3″ means the U.S., France and Britain):

(Tweets at site)

And now the middle-ground take: Russia’s primary goal is to stave off U.S. strikes. If it can do that with a little bit of delaying and bluffing at the United Nations, then in Moscow’s view that’s great. If it has to let through some kind of UN Security Council authorization to seize Syria’s chemical weapons, it will accept that too. In this reading, Russia’s goal is to make any UN action against Syria’s chemical weapons as minimal as possible. If true, this is actually good for the U.S., because it gives President Obama lots of leverage with Moscow as long as he can credibly threaten U.S. strikes. This would suggest that Obama might be able to get something halfway decent through the Security Council, maybe even a binding resolution, but only as long as he can maintain a credible threat of striking Syria.
One might think that Russia was actively making life difficult for Obama.


As US, France seek UN resolution, Russia rejects threat of force to ensure Syria disarms

By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, September 10, 3:15 PM

BEIRUT — The U.S. and France on Tuesday pushed for a tough United Nations resolution to ensure Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime turns over its chemical weapons stockpile, but Assad’s ally Russia demanded the West take the threat of force off the table if Damascus fails to meet its promises. The diplomatic split threatened a deal that could avert American strikes against Syria.

Assad’s government on Tuesday promised to cooperate fully with the Russian plan, which calls for Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control, for eventual destruction.


Wary that Damascus is only seeking to avoid U.S. military action, Washington and France said they seek strong U.N. language to enforce the Russian plan. France said it would put forward a draft resolution under Chapter 7 of the U.N. charter, making it enforceable with military action.

That met swift opposition from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the plan can only work if “the American side and those who support the U.S.A, in this sense, reject the use of force.”

One might think the Republicans are helping Russia make life difficult for him/us.

Your quite overestimating 1/2 of one house.

But this is funny, weird funny:

...A serious foreign-policy intellectual said recently that Putin’s problem is that he’s a Russian leader in search of a Nixon, a U.S. president he can really negotiate with, a stone player who can talk grand strategy and the needs of his nation, someone with whom he can thrash it through and work it out. Instead he has Obama, a self-besotted charismatic who can’t tell the difference between showbiz and strategy, and who enjoys unburdening himself of moral insights to his peers.

But Putin has no reason to want a Syrian conflagration. He is perhaps amused to have a stray comment by John Kerry be the basis for a resolution of the crisis. The hidden rebuke: It means that when Putin met with Obama at the G-20 last week Obama, due to his lack of competence, got nothing. But a stray comment by the Secretary of State? Sure, why not rub Obama’s face in it.
* * *

All this, if it is roughly correct, is going to make the president’s speech tonight quite remarkable. It will be a White House address in which a president argues for an endeavor he is abandoning. It will be a president appealing for public support for an action he intends not to take.

We’ve never had a presidential speech like that!

So what will he say? Some guesses.

He will not really be trying to “convince the public.” He will be trying to move the needle a little, which will comfort those who want to say he retains a matchless ability to move the masses. It will make him feel better. And it will send the world the message: Hey, this isn’t a complete disaster. The U.S. president still has some juice, and that juice can still allow him to surprise you, so watch it.

He will attempt to be morally compelling and rhetorically memorable. He will probably, like Susan Rice yesterday, attempt to paint a graphic portrait of what chemical weapons do—the children in their shrouds, the suffering parents, what such deaths look like and are. This is not meaningless: the world must be reminded what weapons of mass destruction are, and what the indifference of the world foretells.

He will claim the moral high ground. He will temporarily reserve the use of force and welcome recent diplomatic efforts. He will suggest it was his threat of force that forced a possible diplomatic solution. His people will be all over the airwaves saying it was his deft leadership and steely-eyed threat to use force that allowed for a diplomatic break. This must have been written before Russia balked about 'force.'

The real purpose of the speech will be to lay the predicate for a retrospective judgment of journalists and, later, historians. He was the president who warned the world and almost went—but didn’t go—to war to make a point that needed making.