Kerry: Russia agrees to “consequences” for Syria as part of deal

posted at 8:01 am on September 16, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

“Consequences,” however, mean a lot of different things in diplo-speak.  Secretary of State John Kerry wants to get critics off the back of the Obama administration for its incoherence in going from denying red lines to demanding authorization to bomb Bashar al-Assad’s regime to ceding control of the whole mess to Russia.  After the climbdown, Barack Obama has retreated from the official US policy of regime change to allowing Vladimir Putin to put Assad in charge of chemical-weapons disarmament, but Kerry says there will still be teeth in the deal:

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday briefed some of the United States’ closest allies on a broad agreement to end Syria‘s chemical weapons program, pressing for broad support for the plan that averted U.S. military strikes.

A day after visiting Israeli leaders, Kerry met in Paris with his counterparts from France, Britain, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, who had pressed for strikes against the government of Bashar Assad after an Aug. 21 poison gas attack that killed hundreds in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Foreign ministers Laurent Fabius of France and William Hague of Britain, Kerry said the allies — and Russia — were in agreement that the U.N. resolution eventually adopted by the Security Council and based on the deal struck by Kerry and his Russian counterpart over the weekend must include “consequences” for the Syrians if they fail to adhere to the plan to dispose of chemical weapons.

Kerry told the press that the UN-enforced deal would reference Chapter 7, which includes military force as an option, but not as a solid consequence, after abrogation.  However, that would require a second resolution from the UN Security Council, CBS reports:

But as CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports from the U.N., the framework agreed to by Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Geneva actually only provides for the option of a second resolution which could carry the authority of Chapter 7 use of force if the Syrians fail to meet their obligations as laid out in the first resolution, which is being debated this week.

First, though, the resolution has to pass, along with an agreed timetable for compliance.  The agreement will probably take a week or two at the UNSC to pass, after working out the timetable and the composition of the team meant to inspect for compliance.  Compliance will take months, especially as the Syrian civil war rages on, and destruction will take years.  Unless Assad is stupid enough to outright refuse to comply, the conflicts over disarmament will stretch out over years, and any UNSC resolutions that follow are likely to aim at resolving “misunderstandings” and reiterating the demand for full compliance.  That’s what happened over 12 years in Iraq with Saddam Hussein.

CBS also reports that Kerry insisted that the “end strategic goal” in Syria was a “transitional government,” but that will have to wait until Assad finishes dealing with the chemical weapons — which will take at least a year or two even if Assad is really complying with the process.  A change of power would leave those weapons in the open, accessible to terrorist groups currently fighting Assad.  Speaking of whom, the Russians countered today with their own idea of consequences in this situation:

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday it may be time to consider efforts to force foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attend an international peace conference instead of just urging them to do so.

Lavrov also accused European countries of trying to reinterpret the agreement he reached with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry under which Syria is to give up its chemical weapons arsenal and avoid U.S. strikes.

Lavrov’s remarks suggested Russia will resist any rush to threaten military intervention if Assad fails to implement the deal and that it will blame the rebels – and the West – if the agreement does not lead to a wider push to end Syria’s conflict.

In other words, the Russians want the consequences applied to Assad’s foes, not Assad, and Lavrov is already contradicting how Kerry represents the agreement supposedly reached this weekend.  Looks like a long twelve years for UN inspectors.

Update: Jeffrey Goldberg lists two reasons why Assad comes out the big winner this weekend:

1. So long as he doesn’t use chemical weapons on his people, he’ll be safe from armed Western intervention. Roughly 98 percent of the people who have died in the Syrian civil war so far have not been killed with chemical weapons, so obviously Assad and his regime have figured out ways to cause mass death in conventional ways. It’s safe to assume that he’ll increase the tempo of attacks on rebels and civilians, knowing now that he can do so with impunity. Obama won’t be outlining any further “red lines,” it would seem.

2. By partnering with Russia and the West on the disarmament process, a process that is meant to last into 2014 (and most likely won’t be finished for years, even if it is carried out in good faith, which is a big “if”), Assad has made himself indispensable. A post-Assad regime wouldn’t necessarily be party to this agreement, and might not even go through the motions. Syria, post-Assad, might very well be more fractured and chaotic than it is now, which is to say, even less of an environment in which United Nations weapons inspectors could safely go about their work. The U.S. now needs Assad in place for the duration. He’s the guy, after all, whose lieutenants know where the chemical weapons are.

The big losers?  The Syrian people.  That’s who gets to suffer the “consequences.”


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Consequences such as Dog Eater giving another vapid speech from his office? Then again being forced to watch such a turgid display might just make Syria AND Iran toe the line.

Bishop on September 16, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday briefed some of the United States’ closest allies on a broad agreement to end Syria‘s chemical weapons program, pressing for broad support for the plan that averted U.S. military strikes.

This is a lie. Because of public opinion and the all-but-certain failure of an authorization from Congress, the plan hardly can be deemed as averting US military strikes.

Just the media trying to make a lazy stupid moron into a bad-ass President willing to bomb unilaterally without concern for the consequences. The reality is the filthy coward wasn’t even close to ordering a cruise missile attack.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:08 AM

Consequences, schonsequences. All this does is kick the ball down the road far enough to get the Iranians 20 nuclear weapons.

Steve Eggleston on September 16, 2013 at 8:09 AM

Consequences such as Dog Eater giving another vapid speech from his office?

Bishop on September 16, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Vapid speech from his office? Absolutely not! He uses the East Room.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM

Consewhaaaaat?

Kerry is a medal throwing, gaffe making Clown.

PappyD61 on September 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM

I expect Obama to get sand kicked in his face continually from Putin for a long time to come…

Alinsky on September 16, 2013 at 8:11 AM

All this does is kick the ball down the road far enough to get the Iranians 20 nuclear weapons.

Steve Eggleston on September 16, 2013 at 8:09 AM

The biggest question at this point, IMO, is how long Israel stands by and lets Iran and their pal Vladimir put another nuclear power in the region. Surely Israel knows by now that Obama is a Jew-hater who does not have their backs.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Vapid speech from his office? Absolutely not! He uses the East Room.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:10 AM

The world is his office, homophobe, he’s the Global Preznit, you forget that at your peril.

Bishop on September 16, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Has either dog eater or the metal thrower noticed they were pantsed last week??

Coger on September 16, 2013 at 8:15 AM

Sure, John.

katy the mean old lady on September 16, 2013 at 8:17 AM

The biggest question at this point, IMO, is how long Israel stands by and lets Iran and their pal Vladimir put another nuclear power in the region. Surely Israel knows by now that Obama is a Jew-hater who does not have their backs.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:12 AM

Concerning that, at least Putin put off the Syrian gassing of Israel (the most-likely outcome of a Kerry-led pinprick of Syria) for a while.

Things are going to get real ugly sooner or later because that delay wasn’t exactly done for the benefit of Israel.

Steve Eggleston on September 16, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Has either dog eater or the metal thrower noticed they were pantsed last week??

Coger on September 16, 2013 at 8:15 AM

They like the breeze.

Steve Eggleston on September 16, 2013 at 8:19 AM

How can you fly by the seat of your pants when your pants are down around your ankles?

Naturally Curly on September 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

How can you fly by the seat of your pants when your pants are down around your ankles?

Naturally Curly on September 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

You’re watching the ensuing tripping in real-time.

Steve Eggleston on September 16, 2013 at 8:25 AM

How can you fly by the seat of your pants when your pants are down around your ankles?

Naturally Curly on September 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Ask Biden, he manages to do it without any pants at all because he’s always forgetting to wear them to the office.

Bishop on September 16, 2013 at 8:26 AM

Things are going to get real ugly sooner or later because that delay wasn’t exactly done for the benefit of Israel.

Steve Eggleston on September 16, 2013 at 8:19 AM

Yeah, I doubt Israel even came up in the discussion of the framework, that may lead to a process, that may lead to UN inspections, that may lead to the destruction of some CW weapons. Someday. By somebody.

This is a rock-solid plan for peace and the elimination of CW in Syria. /

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:27 AM

How can you fly by the seat of your pants when your pants are down around your ankles?

Naturally Curly on September 16, 2013 at 8:22 AM

Ask Bill Clinton. He managed to conduct foreign policy while Monica Lewinsky did things that you should never do with a cigar.

Not that I think the current President is screwing an intern. He’s too lazy to make the effort and his hulking spouse would literally break him in half.

Happy Nomad on September 16, 2013 at 8:33 AM

Does anybody think Obama is going to agree to disarm the rebels at the same time he is supplying them?

Fenris on September 16, 2013 at 8:34 AM

Rising above:

Davuluri’s victory led to some negative comments on Twitter from users upset that someone of Indian heritage had won the pageant. She brushed those aside.

“I have to rise above that,” she said. “I always viewed myself as first and foremost American.”

http://news.yahoo.com/miss-america-cheers-pageant-diversity-040832960.html

davidk on September 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM

In other words, the Russians want the consequences applied to Assad’s foes, not Assad

LOL. Since the “consequences” are likely to be nothing more than a hectoring lecture, no doubt Bam-Bam will agree to this too.

The big losers? The Syrian people. That’s who gets to suffer the “consequences.”

More anti-American jihadis in the making. Good work, Bam-Bam! Maybe you should send them each a NASA pin to make up for helping Assad slaughter their families.

AZCoyote on September 16, 2013 at 8:38 AM

Consequences:

1. A stern letter of disapproval.

2. Double-Secret probation.

3. Flogging with a wet noodle.

4. Sending Assad to bed with no dessert.

myiq2xu on September 16, 2013 at 8:42 AM

How can you fly by the seat of your pants when your pants are down around your ankles?

If anyone can, Obama can!

myiq2xu on September 16, 2013 at 8:44 AM

It’s easier to start wars than to end them. It’s easier to blame others than to look inward.

Presideent Barack Hussein Obama, “A New Beginning”, University of Cairo,June 4, 2009

kingsjester on September 16, 2013 at 8:46 AM

Russia is urging for peace talks now because Assad regime is still in control of 70% of Syria in term of population and he is in a good position for now for so called negotiations… Hence Assad and Russia want the so called Presidential elections in Syria next year where Assad wins easily because his regime is still in control of the majority of the population… So Assad wins 65% of the vote instead of the 98.9% of the votes that he used to win when his regime controlled 100% of Syria…

mnjg on September 16, 2013 at 8:56 AM

Rising above:…

davidk on September 16, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Miss America may try to promote world peace with Michelle but the media will only comment on Michelle’s toned arms and wonderful fashion sense.

Fenris on September 16, 2013 at 8:58 AM

All this Obama-Kerry Syria foreign policy stuff reminds me of a nerdy 98-pound weakling being pummeled to the bar room floor by some rather large brutish sort…who, after beating the tar out of the nerdy guy, walks out of the bar, looking for excitement elsewhere.

After which, the nerdy guy struggles, stands up, attempts to brush himself off, saying, “See? See? I won. Chased that Neanderthal out of here. Yep…you saw it…I’m standing. He’s gone.”

Give that some thought.

Have a great week.

Me and the former-Marine son (who arrived home safely) are gonna spend the day doing dad and son stuff…and another…and another…

coldwarrior on September 16, 2013 at 10:02 AM

If anyone can, Obama can!

myiq2xu on September 16, 2013 at 8:44 AM

The Obama Candy Man can.
‘Cause he mixes it with love,
And makes the world taste good.

Sammy Davis, Jr., gonna be singing that stupid song in my head for the rest of the morning, now.

coldwarrior on September 16, 2013 at 10:05 AM

They’ll be given a box of chocolates and told not to be naughty again.

CurtZHP on September 16, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Kerry: “You pulled my pants to my ankles on the international stage.”

Putin: “You want your boxers down there too?”

Kerry: “Why yes that would be great!”

jukin3 on September 16, 2013 at 10:39 AM

Wow! There will be CONSEQUENCES! The UN will PASS A RESOLUTION! Well that will certainly get Assad’s attention!

GarandFan on September 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

No dessert. No TV. No video games for a week. Now take out the garbage.

portlandon on September 16, 2013 at 10:42 AM

Consequential “consequences” or inconsequential “consequences” or “consequences” of no consequence at all?

coldwarrior on September 16, 2013 at 10:52 AM

When you defer your authority to another country – you’re not in a position to dictate anything.

Smart Power!

Hill60 on September 16, 2013 at 10:57 AM

CBS also reports that Kerry insisted that the “end strategic goal” in Syria was a “transitional government,” but that will have to wait until Assad finishes dealing with the chemical weapons — which will take at least a year or two even if Assad is really complying with the process

Nonsense. It will take two years to agree to who will be on the inspection team. Remember Iraq.

The Kerry/Obama agreement will stumble along for 10 years minimum.

slickwillie2001 on September 16, 2013 at 12:34 PM