Syria: We “welcome” Russia’s proposal to turn over our chemical weapons to international control; Update: Rand Paul interested

posted at 2:01 pm on September 9, 2013 by Allahpundit

He turned the ball over underneath his own basket and now here’s the easy lay-up.

Maybe the new White House strategy is to lose so much U.S. credibility through Obama and Kerry sounding like morons that Congress has no choice but to support bombing in order to get some of it back. Proposed White House sales pitch: “Vote yes and we’ll shut up.”

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday said it welcomed a Russian proposal to avert U.S. military strikes by having Damascus turn over control of its chemical weapons to international monitors.

The statement by Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem in Moscow offered the first indication that a diplomatic solution may be possible to the international standoff that has evolved since apparent chemical weapons attacks on rebel-held suburbs outside Damascus on August 21…

Moualem said Syria “welcomes the Russian initiative,” but did not say whether his country would agree to what Russia was asking. “We also welcome the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is trying to prevent American aggression against our people,” Moulaem said.

Hours earlier, in London, Secretary of State John F. Kerry sketched out a similar transfer-of-control scenario, then dismissed it, after being asked by a reporter whether there was anything that Assad could do to avoid an attack. “Sure, he could turn over every bit of his weapons to the international community within the next week, without delay,” Kerry said. “But he isn’t about to.”

This proposal is being taken sufficiently seriously at the UN that Ban Ki-Moon called it something the Security Council might potentially unite around. So now, thanks to Kerry, Assad might be able to follow the Iranian nuclear script to stave off a U.S. attack — agree to “dialogue,” wrangle over inspections, and then stall, stall, stall while his enemy’s will to act gradually erodes. The State Department, backed into a corner by the boss’s idiocy, now has no choice but to agree to take a “hard look” at the proposal, but at this afternoon’s briefing the department’s line on what Kerry said is that .. yeah, he’s kind of an idiot:

Our “moderate” Syrian rebel allies are naturally furious that the big bombing run might be suspended over this.

Here’s the thing, though: Doesn’t the Russian proposal get Obama what he ostensibly wants, i.e. an Assad who’s afraid to use chemical weapons again? O doesn’t care if Assad keeps his weapons; he doesn’t even care if he uses them, provided he does so on a small enough scale that deniability is kinda sorta plausible. See, for example, this new LA Times report about how U.S. intelligence had a strong suspicion as far back as last summer, before O issued his “red line” ultimatum, that Syrian troops were gassing people. The Damascus attack wasn’t a gamechanger because it was novel, it was a gamechanger because it was so big that Obama would be humiliated if he didn’t respond. Now here’s Russia seizing on Kerry’s gaffe as a way to keep the U.S. off its turf, essentially guaranteeing that Assad won’t use gas again via the fiction of Syria turning over its weapons or whatever. Big question for Obama now: Is it more important to him to de-escalate this conflict that he bumbled into, even if it means losing face by letting the Russians bail him out, or is it more important to restore his “credibility” by punching Assad regardless of what that might mean for the conflict blowing up? If he accepts Russia’s “offer,” he’s endorsing the charade that Assad will voluntarily disarm in exchange for a de facto promise that he won’t gas people again. If he rejects it, he still has to deal with a congressional headache, the headache of organizing military ops, etc. How much face is The One willing to lose to Putin after the Snowden humiliation? More face than he’s willing to lose after his big push in Congress ends up failing miserably?

Update: Via Breitbart, the Senate’s leading opponent of the war sees a way out:

“I think it would be a great step forward if Assad were willing to do it and if Russia were willing to monitor it or an international authority with Russia,” Paul, an outspoken opponent of U.S. military strikes in Syria, said in a phone interview with Breitbart News on Monday. “I think part of diplomacy and getting things to work is allowing people to save face. If there’s a way Russia can save face in this thing and be part of an international coalition, that’s what we should shoot for.”

“I think one of the biggest problems with bombing Assad is that if we bomb Assad and we destabilize the chemical weapons and they become loose within the country and al Qaeda gets access to them, then I think that’s the real disaster,” Paul explained. “Even [Secretary of State John] Kerry admitted it would take 75,000 American troops to secure these weapons, and that’s what I’ve been saying all along—that bombing may actually lead to more instability.”

“But having an international body take control of the chemical weapons would add much greater stability, and I think it would be a benefit for all of us if that would happen,” he added.

Update: Emily Zanotti of Naked DC summarizes the case for accepting Russia’s offer: “Sure, we’ll probably look kind of stupid, but we already look kind of stupid, and as the Administration slams head first into a likely ‘no’ vote on a use of force authorization, being caught with our pants down now, before we commit our armed forces and risk American lives might not be such a bad thing.”

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Putin suggests ‘international control’ over Syrian WMDs.

If Obama accepts he owes Putin for getting his nuts out of the fire.

Great job, Barry!

If Obama declines, he is a warmongering cowboy snubbing Putin.

Great job, Barry!

And for Putin… it is win-win.

Because who has ‘boots on the ground’ on hour one in Syria? Putin.

Who knows where the documents are showing any links between Syrian WMD and Russia? Putin does.

And which country comes off looking lame for having to have another country, its normal adversary, get it out of a jam? Why the US!

Win-win-win for Putin!

ajacksonian on September 9, 2013 at 6:38 PM


Punchenko on September 9, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Ooops, ny bad. That was meant for mnjg, not happytobehere.
Meremortal on September 9, 2013 at 6:33 PM

That’s okay. I’ll probably end up voting for her when we nominate Christie. :(

happytobehere on September 9, 2013 at 6:52 PM

If this works team Obama will lie and say this was all a super secret plan between him and Putin.

meci on September 9, 2013 at 2:13 PM

If you tell someone you are going to punch them if they don’t stop doing something, wouldn’t you expect them to stop if they really think you will punch them?

So on the one hand I’d love to oppose it simply because anything good for Obama must needs be bad for America, but on the other hand, this is actually the best possible solution all the way around. Nothing short of boots-on-the-ground regime change is going to get Assad to give up his arsenal. Russian-led international monitoring, however, will get him to be more discreet, if only to avoid embarrassing Putin. I’m reluctantly forced to put crass partisanship aside and support this compromise.

Fabozz on September 9, 2013 at 2:15 PM

God bless you. You are patriotic partisan :)

hamnj7 on September 9, 2013 at 2:33 PM

the only person who even thought about having Russia monitor the weapons, is Rand Paul on September 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Now without a single missile fired by our military not only we deterred and degraded Assad chemical weapons but he gave them up entirely for destruction…
mnjg on September 9, 2013 at 2:17 PM

Syria didnt give anything up. They said some words. The same words Iran and Iraq said. And we see how well thats worked out.

Assad just bought time and killed any chance of a US strike without doing anything.


And Putin just pwned the President of the USA with the whole world watching. Which I guess is awesome?

Assad can not go back to slaughtering the Syrian people with bullets and machetes and all is right in the world.

Spliff Menendez on September 9, 2013 at 7:18 PM

not = now

Spliff Menendez on September 9, 2013 at 7:21 PM

Hey Lurch (and Hellery) I guess you are finding out it is easier to talk a good game than do a good game. Sometime life sucks. I bet you go to sleep at night wondering how all those other Sec States were able to do it right.

Old Country Boy on September 9, 2013 at 7:28 PM on September 9, 2013 at 7:04 PM

Good to have you back. We were wondering if you could answer this from earlier today:

I support attacking Syria for the use to chemical weapons and to cripple their ability to do it again. on September 9, 2013 at 1:14 PM

I supported a limited attack, so maybe I see this differently than you. on September 9, 2013 at 1:29 PM


I wonder what will alquaida find interesting in Syria if there no chemical weapons there….. on September 9, 2013 at 1:25 PM

Speaking of perspective here and “siding with”:
Today, on September 9th, can you tell us who we’d be helping with an attack? You already have, of course, but please tell us the name of their organization again.
rogerb on September 9, 2013 at 1:35 PM

rogerb on September 9, 2013 at 7:32 PM

You guys just don’t understand Obama. Obama is so smart, he looks dumb. Obama is using some Jedi mind trick on Assad and Putin.

Bleed_thelizard on September 9, 2013 at 8:03 PM

Notwithstanding the need of this blog to secure income, the RNC’s need or re-election money, the fact Rand Paul is a knock off of his father, and the fact not many of U.S. who post here agree on all that much,,,,

Obama, Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Lt. for life John F. Kerry and Hildie Clinton and the commie, earth first, greenpeace, and the low life Harry Reid/Democrat Black Caucus all or one are a clear and present danger to freedom, liberty, the rule of law and the U.S. Constitution….

We must unit for the good of all, a fight amoung U.S. is the death of all of U.S..

End of story.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 9, 2013 at 11:16 PM


APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 9, 2013 at 11:16 PM

next close down wiki and its link to how to make Serin Gas…

APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 9, 2013 at 11:19 PM


APACHEWHOKNOWS on September 9, 2013 at 11:24 PM

I disagree with Obama on 99.99% of the things he does and says…

mnjg on September 9, 2013 at 2:56 PM

You don’t seriously expect anyone here to believe that, do you?

zoyclem on September 10, 2013 at 7:37 AM

God help us, the buffoons are in charge of our country. How have we sunk to this level? Putin must be highly amused with the run around he is giving Obama.

kjatexas on September 10, 2013 at 3:02 PM