Assad: I’m going to enjoy stretching this out

posted at 2:41 pm on September 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Earlier, Allahpundit postulated that the difficulty in disarming Syria’s Bashar al-Assad would result in two choices for Barack Obama — going ahead with missile strikes or further humiliation at the UN.  It looks like Assad definitely has the latter in mind, but only after a long period of stalling:

In exchange for relinquishing his chemical arsenal, Mr. Assad said Thursday, he will require that the United States stop arming the Syrian opposition — a demand that might seem wishful from the leader of a devastated country where civil war has left 100,000 dead, two million living as refugees and large swaths of territory beyond his control.

Mr. Assad outlined his demands on Thursday, telling a Russian TV interviewer that the arms-control proposal floated by his patron in Moscow would not be finalized until “we see the United States really wants stability in our region and stops threatening, striving to attack and also ceases arms deliveries to terrorists.”

Secretary of State John Kerry delivered a blunt response to Mr. Assad’s comments after meeting Thursday with Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, saying the standard procedures for identifying and securing the weapons were too slow in Syria’s case. “There is nothing standard about this process,” Mr. Kerry said. “The words of the Syrian regime, in our judgment, are simply not enough.”

Mr. Assad, sounding relaxed and confident, hinted in his interview that the Russian proposal — which requires Syria to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention — could become a lever for endless negotiations and delays, much as Saddam Hussein delayed arms control inspectors during the 1990s. “It doesn’t mean that Syria will sign the documents, fulfill the obligations, and that’s it,” Mr. Assad said.

No kidding.  TNR’s Julia Ioffe told Jake Tapper the same thing last night, noting that this is one of Vladimir Putin’s favorite gambits, and for a specific purpose:

“This is a classic Russian tactic,” said Julia Ioffe, editor at The New Republic who was a Moscow-based reporter for years.

Putin is muddying the waters, said Ioffe, hiding the fact that it makes no sense to deny that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad used chemical weapons on his people, but at the same time, express interest in having Assad give up his chemical weapons.

The op-ed also demonstrates what Ioffe calls a cornerstone of Putin’s presidency – raising Russia off its knees.

“He believes Russia was humiliated in the 90s at the end of the Cold War, humiliated by America. This is Russia standing up to America,” said Ioffe. “He’s also obsessed with not having a unipolar world. Not having America call all the shots across the globe.” …

“He’s bought Assad a ton of time. And now he’s gotten Obama to put aside what was one of the goals of military strikes, (which) was to get Assad from power. Now we’ve given up on that, now we’re just talking about this one detail of chemical weapons,” said Ioffe.

In other words, mission accomplished, at least for the foreseeable future. Putin and Sergei Lavrov aren’t risking anything with a failed proposal for reasons Ioffe states, but also because it just will have delayed the perhaps-inevitable.  Russia will get credit for having pursued diplomacy first before military strikes, and for momentarily derailing Obama’s strategy.  But the Russians want to string this out as long as possible before the effort fails (if it does) in order to take the momentum away from Obama on chemical weapons.  If an agreement is reached — and here is where it’s in Russia’s interest to facilitate a “solution” — then Russia ends up controlling the effort to disarm, which means perhaps years of stalling.

The UN, however, might put more pressure on Russia with its report on Syria:

UN experts will confirm in a report to be released next week that chemical weapons were used in an attack near Damascus, UN leader Ban Ki-moon predicted Friday.

“I believe the report will be an overwhelming report that the chemical weapons was used,” said Ban who also launched a new outspoken attack on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Ban also gave a UN estimate that 1,400 people were killed in an August 21 attack which led to western threats of a military strike on Assad’s forces.

The UN won’t place direct blame, which will leave open the question of which side carried out the attack.  They aren’t as reticent in another context, though, accusing the Syrian army of deliberately bombing and shelling hospitals and refusing medical care to captured rebels and sympathizers:

Syrian government forces are bombing and shelling hospitals in rebel-held areas to stop sick and wounded getting treatment, acts which constitute war crimes, U.N. investigators said on Friday.

Fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad purposefully denied people medical care as a “weapon of war”, they added in a report. They also had details of a smaller number of incidents when rebel forces attacked hospitals.

“The pattern of attacks indicates that government forces deliberately targeted hospitals and medical units to gain military advantage by depriving anti-government armed groups and their perceived supporters of medical assistance,” the report said. …

The Syrian army has occupied hospitals, using them as bases for snipers, tanks and soldiers, according to the report. Ambulance drivers, nurses and doctors have been attacked, arrested, tortured or disappeared in “insidious” violations of international law.

“Intentionally directing attacks against hospitals and places containing the sick and the wounded and against medical units using the Red Cross or Red Crescent emblem is a war crime in non-international armed conflict,” the independent investigators said, referring to a legal term for civil war.

If the US and UN wanted an entrée into the civil war, that report might make for better fodder than the chemical-weapons reports.  However, the kind of intervention needed to prevent these kinds of war crimes would require boots on the ground, which the White House has repeatedly rejected and which the American people would strongly oppose in any case.  The new report might give Kerry more leverage to push the Russians farther and faster on the chemical-weapons issue, but first they’d have to see significantly more competence and resolve from Barack Obama than has been demonstrated over the last few weeks.


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Rodeo Clown Diplomacy…

… on the World Stage for All to see.

Seven Percent Solution on September 13, 2013 at 2:42 PM

Assad now has a permanent hall pass, so he’ll be goofing off and smoking in the boys room for the rest of the school year.

claudius on September 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM

“He believes Russia was humiliated in the 90s at the end of the Cold War, humiliated by America. This is Russia standing up to America,” said Ioffe.

Well, it’s Russia standing up to Barky, not America. Big deal. A two year old could stand up to Barky and make him cry. A three year old could pummel Barky at bowling. A five year old could whip his butt at basketball. A seven year old could outscore Barky on pretty much any math test.

Putin needs to keep this all in perspective.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM

The UN, however, might put more pressure on Russia with its report on Syria:

Ed, please tell me someone else typed those words?

The UN can’t put any pressure; member nations can but there is no will to do so.

SteveMG on September 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Reagan is done. Its. Over.
 
libfreeordie on July 29, 2013 at 6:12 PM

rogerb on September 13, 2013 at 2:53 PM

UN is preparing to investigate Human Rights Abuses…in The USA.

http://weaselzippers.us/2013/09/13/u-n-panel-to-probe-human-rights-abuses-in-america/

So I have my doubts they will put much pressure on Russia.

workingclass artist on September 13, 2013 at 2:55 PM

don’t worry…. Barry is on it.. everything is go’n as planed

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJXU7EVXs2A

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 13, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Smart Power.

/

dpduq on September 13, 2013 at 2:59 PM

Ya, Vlad is shaking in his boots waiting for the UN report. It’s like this is turning into a really bad reality show. I think I’ll check out some other channels.

Deano1952 on September 13, 2013 at 3:02 PM

Tamping foot impatiently…

C’mon you idiot liberal 0bama worshipers. Get over here and tell everybody how great this is for your savior on Earth. I have things to do.

cozmo on September 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

He Ed, you predictibaly mention that Assad’s forces deny rebels medical treatment and attack hospitals blah blah blah. I suppose you want me to believe that the various islamist terrorist groups that Assad’s forces are fighting…..oh wait thats right you call them rebels, are diligent followers of the Geneva Convention.

I guess you’re cool with Christians and Assad soldiers being beheaded? When am I going to see you report on that more? Maybe take a break from your Steelers love letters and report more on that eh?

jephthah on September 13, 2013 at 3:04 PM

Bombing,biking,bombing,what’s the difference?Our leader.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HOBTUCv4o0

docflash on September 13, 2013 at 3:10 PM

He just stepped into a big squishy steaming pile of Obama.

/No penalty there.

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:13 PM

I take comfort that at least the idiots that run our foreign affairs have absolutely nothing to do with “running” healthcare or any other large aspects of the economy or daily life.

gwelf on September 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM

I’m sure Assad will throw in something like ‘we can only meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, provided that the meeting is preceded by a full moon’.

GarandFan on September 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM

The problem for the Left and D Party: they have no one that can do any better than Obama.

Third rate thugs usually aren’t able to run rings around US Presidents in the Public Diplomacy arena, and yet that is exactly what is happening.

If Obama had meant what he said last year he would have started diplomatic option last year. He didn’t do that. That is a Public Diplomacy FAIL of the worst sorts as it means that the President has no idea of how to conduct Public Diplomacy. Clueless. And the MFM can’t get him out of this as leaders of other Nations get camera time, air time, and can go around the MFM to speak directly to the American People. Like Putin is doing.

Without the courage of his lovely words and red lines, Obama now finds out what failure means. What is worse from him is that since this DOES involve other world leaders he CAN’T run away from the topic as THEY will keep on hounding him on it. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And if you don’t have convictions behind your agenda as you said it, then you are weak and will be toyed with until you leave office and be hamstrung on doing anything because you are weak, ineffectual and have no spine behind your words.

ajacksonian on September 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM

claudius on September 13, 2013 at 2:44 PM

Everybody knows that smokin’ ain’t allowed in school.

/Vroom Vroom.

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM

Well, obama created this ridiculous situation – Who can blame Assad for taking advantage of obama’s abject weakness and stupidity?

Pork-Chop on September 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

I’m sure Assad will throw in something like ‘we can only meet on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, provided that the meeting is preceded by a full moon’.

GarandFan on September 13, 2013 at 3:16 PM

And there have to be Tamales served… for Michelle. She likes tamales. Also, arugula and large bags of Cheeto’s brand snacks.

/I heard that through the grapevine.

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:19 PM

“He believes Russia was humiliated in the 90s at the end of the Cold War, humiliated by America. This is Russia standing up to America,” said Ioffe. “He’s also obsessed with not having a unipolar world. Not having America call all the shots across the globe.” …

And Obama is helping very much achieving this… In fact it is Obama plan… he believes in multi-polar world…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:21 PM

This doesn’t seem to be working out too well for anyone except Assad & Putin. Not the president, not America, not Congress, and certainly not Syrian citizens and refugees. So I guess Assad will just keep right on killing and gassing and executing his own people, right up until there are no more to kill. Then what?

I am not for interfering in this mess but here’s what really bugs me…the fact that we announced that we were going to do it, had discussions about what the targets might be, whether Assad could still eat his Cheerio’s, that we don’t do “pin pricks” but the attack would be “unbelievable small”…whatever happened to the element of surprise? Assad is no idiot, he started his defensive moves over two weeks ago because he had plenty of advance info.

scalleywag on September 13, 2013 at 3:21 PM

That’s an unfortunate double-entendre of an article title.

I would have thought that quote would be attributable to Putin.

Of course, the thing being stretched out is unmentionable.

connertown on September 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

The new report might give Kerry more leverage to push the Russians farther and faster on the chemical-weapons issue, but first they’d have to see significantly more competence and resolve from Barack Obama than has been demonstrated over the last few weeks.

The only way to force Assad and Putin to give up quickly is for the US military to heavily bomb Assad main fire power and in particular his air force… However Obama the coward is not willing to do so because his intent is to humiliate the US…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Obama “Tell him I’ll be more flexible after the election”
Assad “I’m going to enjoy stretching this out”

DanMan on September 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

scalleywag on September 13, 2013 at 3:21 PM

You’re asking for proof of integrity from the Omininstration. Stop now, because there is no such thing. Never was, never shall be, never will be even in your fondest dreams as long as Obama has a seat at the table.

Everyone is laughing at HIM, not at the USA. At him. And he knows it.

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM

I swear I didn’t collude with connertown on that thought

DanMan on September 13, 2013 at 3:28 PM

The only way to force Assad and Putin to give up quickly is for the US military to heavily bomb Assad main fire power and in particular his air force… However Obama the coward is not willing to do so because his intent is to humiliate the US…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Miss Lindsey, why don’t you announce your retirement before your azz trouncing.

katy the mean old lady on September 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

The only way to force Assad and Putin to give up quickly is for the US military to heavily bomb Assad main fire power and in particular his air force… However Obama the coward is not willing to do so because his intent is to humiliate the US…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Assad is the most cowardly person on the planet…

mnjg on September 9, 2013 at 4:11 PM

Resist We Much on September 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM

DanMan on September 13, 2013 at 3:25 PM

/And I thought I was bad. Hah!

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM

Resist We Much on September 13, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Both are cowards… Assad will give up when faced with a superior power… Obama is just a coward who cannot make a decision despite that he has under his command the mightiest military in history…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM

The only way to force Assad and Putin to give up quickly is for the US military to heavily bomb Assad main fire power and in particular his air force… However Obama the coward is not willing to do so because his intent is to humiliate the US…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Do you also lisp when you speak in real life? Just axin’.

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Julia Ioffe is right, but man those obnoxious giggling bints they put there to interrupt her makes that video nearly unwatchable.

Gingotts on September 13, 2013 at 3:37 PM

The Syrian army has occupied hospitals, using them as bases for snipers, tanks and soldiers, according to the report. Ambulance drivers, nurses and doctors have been attacked, arrested, tortured or disappeared in “insidious” violations of international law.

No. This is impossible. Muslims are incapable of using hospitals, ambulances and medical equipment for non-peaceful purposes. The entire world has been told that over and over and over again. Somehow, those evil Israelis have infiltrated Assad’s troops to perpetuate these non-peaceful actions. Only Jooooos are capable of misusing medical facilities and personnel.

catsandbooks on September 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Obama has become Putin’s little biotch, twerking his bottom provocatively at the manly, shirtless Russian, begging for approval.

If Obama really wants to “save face” at this point, all he can do is launch a series of attacks on Assad’s palaces and military headquarters. Other than that, he won’t be able to hide from the world how worthless and weak he is.

Putin has totally pwned him.

Adjoran on September 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

If Obama really wants to “save face” at this point, all he can do is launch a series of attacks on Assad’s palaces and military headquarters. Other than that, he won’t be able to hide from the world how worthless and weak he is.

Putin has totally pwned him.

Adjoran on September 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

His bed. Thanks, put I’m just not thrilled with using our brave military to make Barky look brave.

katy the mean old lady on September 13, 2013 at 3:43 PM

If Obama really wants to “save face” at this point, all he can do is launch a series of attacks on Assad’s palaces and military headquarters. Other than that, he won’t be able to hide from the world how worthless and weak he is.

Putin has totally pwned him.

Adjoran on September 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

Too late now. The only thing Obama can do to save face is… well, nothing. There’s nothing left.

Suxtabe Obama, that’s for sure.

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

Only Jooooos are capable of misusing medical facilities and personnel.

catsandbooks on September 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Jooooos… and The Devil

/

Key West Reader on September 13, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Sounds like Obarney Fife has Putin and Assad right where he wants them. Their strategy is working to perfection. Kerry needs a couple more gaffes to really seal the deal. Holy Geesus, what a clueless bunch.

rjoco1 on September 13, 2013 at 3:48 PM

Well, it’s Russia standing up to Barky, not America. Big deal. A two year old could stand up to Barky and make him cry. A three year old could pummel Barky at bowling. A five year old could whip his butt at basketball. A seven year old could outscore Barky on pretty much any math test.

Putin needs to keep this all in perspective.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on September 13, 2013 at 2:46 PM
——

This kind of post always crack me up. Both on political sites and sports sites.

So let me get this str8. The President of the free world is such a dumb *** weakling yet he is the President. If a person who truly lacked those characteristics can become President then what is your excuse for being a nobody? You remind me of those people who get online and say things like “Lebron Sucks!!” Yes. Lebron sucks whatever, but compared to the person making the statement?

Lol..I just find those type of post funny.

Politricks on September 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

I’m getting sick and tired of Syria.

Wrong place.
Wrong time.
Wrong reason.\

If Iran were the target I would be 110% in support of a massive strike.. Attacking a surrogate puppet is sheer lunacy.

Obama is not only an incompetent disgrace but an international embarrassment as well–sort of like a mentally challenged aunt who pees on the dance floor at a country club dance.

MaiDee on September 13, 2013 at 3:52 PM

Lol..I just find those type of post funny.

Politricks on September 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

Keep laughing, you brain dead twit. Fools like you elected this jellyfish. Hope you don’t have children of draftable age.

katy the mean old lady on September 13, 2013 at 3:55 PM

The President of the free world is such a dumb *** weakling yet he is the President.

Politricks on September 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

The President of the United States is NOT ‘the President of the free world.’

Lol..I just find those type of post funny.

I find your ignorance amusing.

Resist We Much on September 13, 2013 at 4:01 PM

New Steyn…

American Ineffectualism

Resist We Much on September 13, 2013 at 4:09 PM

So let me get this str8. The President of the free world is such a dumb *** weakling yet he is the President (because brain-dead gnats like me voted for him).

Politricks on September 13, 2013 at 3:50 PM

You’ll never learn, which is your loss, entirely. I wish you nothing but obamas, for the rest of your ‘life’.

Schadenfreude on September 13, 2013 at 4:23 PM

The only way to force Assad and Putin to give up quickly is for the US military to heavily bomb Assad main fire power and in particular his air force… However Obama the coward is not willing to do so because his intent is to humiliate the US…

mnjg on September 13, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Assad’s main firepower is his artillery.

His air force has flown a few missions, yes, but this is a ground fight and an artillery battle. All those MANPADs held by the rebels means Assad uses his air force sparingly. That means it is the old fashioned sort of fight, and without much armor to spare by Assad, that means big guns.

And there is no good way to neutralize artillery unless you want the USAF to become the air force for the rebels, and then there is the unpleasant bit of the rebels being backed by the MB, which has shown what it intends to do already in the place known as ‘Egypt’. And the MB are not better than Assad. Look at what is happening to the Copts in Egypt and the Christians in Syria for a taste of what the MB intentions are. Is religious extermination better or worse than using CWs?

ajacksonian on September 13, 2013 at 4:29 PM

Saddam stretched out the process of “voluntary cooperative disarmament under UN supervision” for twelve years. We know how that ended.

And that was after being decisively defeated by a huge military coalition in January through March of 1991 that destroyed the better part of his military machine. But, unfortunately, not enough of it to prevent him from putting down the subsequent popular uprising.

Assad still has a strong military and has not been defeated by anyone yet.

Putin and Assad must have a good laugh over this on a daily basis.

farsighted on September 13, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Let’s see. The repulsive neocons and liberal internationalists, after getting Qaddafi to sign a peace treaty and give up his WMDs, then bombed him and got him sodomized and killed. What goddamn leverage does the American foreign policy establishment have that anyone would trust?
The level of subversion that the State Dept is involved in everyday is astonishing and most Americans are kept clueless.

flawedskull on September 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

The new report might give Kerry more leverage to push the Russians farther and faster on the chemical-weapons issue…

No, it won’t.

Kerry has no leverage at all and no report will give him any.

Remember when GWB began building up US forces in the region around Iraq in the fall of 2002? After getting a use of force authorization from the US Congress and a UN resolution condoning any actions required to get Saddam to comply with (12) UN resolutions?

That build up took six months and ended with enough force in place to topple Saddam if he did not comply.

That’s leverage.

Kerry and Comrade O have no leverage.

Unfortunately, the leverage GWB had was undermined by the French who right up until the end were secretly telling Saddam they could prevent a US led invasion.

How many people are undermining whatever imaginary leverage Comrade O and JF’n Kerry think they have, or hoped they would have? Let me begun the list with Putin, China, the UN, the EU, NATO, Britain, the US Congress, and US public opinion. And who knows what duplicitous double-dealing byzantine machinations are playing out behind the scenes in the ME.

farsighted on September 13, 2013 at 5:25 PM

roflmmfao

donabernathy on September 13, 2013 at 2:56 PM

What does that mean? I have seen it posted here on HA several times and I don’t understand.

RushBaby on September 13, 2013 at 6:05 PM

O might not be able to sit down for the rest of his term

krome on September 13, 2013 at 6:07 PM

“He believes Russia was humiliated in the 90s at the end of the Cold War, humiliated by America. This is Russia standing up to America,” said Ioffe. “He’s also obsessed with not having a unipolar world. Not having America call all the shots across the globe.” …

I’ve said this. Other people writing here have said this. And it only took a bumbling idiot like obama to facilitate this free PR resuscitation for the Russians. Throughout this entire Syrian Civil War, Putin has looked like the leader who knew what was actually going on there and had the calmer head.

The gaffe by John “F’n” Kerry sealed our fate.

hawkdriver on September 14, 2013 at 7:50 AM

What does that mean? I have seen it posted here on HA several times and I don’t understand.

RushBaby on September 13, 2013 at 6:05 PM

rolling on floor laugh my mother freaking azz off

What does the acronym REB for the president stand for?

hawkdriver on September 14, 2013 at 7:52 AM

Rushbaby, are these your words from your blog? You wrote that article?

“Our lives are sharpest and clearest when we see the pattern. In moments of revelation, the comforting illusions are torn away and the true pattern of our world stands revealed waiting for us to act.”

hawkdriver on September 14, 2013 at 7:58 AM