Surprise: Syria misses first major deadline for chemical weapons surrender

posted at 7:01 pm on January 3, 2014 by Mary Katharine Ham

Oh yeah, Syria. If you’ll remember, there was about a week and a half in 2013 where it was vitally important we get involved in an armed conflict with Syria because after slaughtering thousands of his citizens with conventional weapons, Bashar al-Assad (a “reformer” in the words of the likely Democratic nominee for 2016) started slaughtering them with chemical weapons. This had the unfortunate side effect (aside from the thousands of dead Syrians) of requiring President Obama to treat what he had called a “red line” as an actual “red line.” And, thus began the push in the White House and the compliant media for an “unbelievably small,” Congressionally unauthorized military action in the country.

After one Rose Garden speech on the necessity of military action, followed by a Congressional revolt, one prime time speech to walk back the Rose Garden speech designed to head off a crushing defeat in a Congressional vote Obama was forced to ask for, and 10 days of bumbling “smart power” embarrassment, the president grabbed the first gaffe raft he could find upon which to float. That was Sec. of State John Kerry’s accidental aside suggesting that Syria could spare itself strikes if it just decided to give up its weapons to the international community— a scenario Kerry himself immediately dismissed as unrealistic, the State Dept. later dismissed as mere “hypothetical,” and the Obama administration embraced as awesome policy after the Russians and Syrians signaled they thought it was a dandy idea.

Super! I’m sure this will work out great. Fast forward to 2014:

U.S. officials conceded that a Tuesday deadline for ridding Syria of hundreds of tons of liquid poisons would not be met, citing stalled progress in transporting the chemicals across war-ravaged countryside to ships that will carry them out of the region. But the officials insisted that the overall effort to destroy President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal was on track.

“We continue to make progress, which has been the important part,” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters. “It was always an ambitious timeline, but we are still operating on the June 30th timeline for the complete destruction.”

The group overseeing the elimination of Syria’s stockpile, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, blamed bad weather and security problems for delays in removing liquid chemicals from a dozen storage depots scattered across the country.

Russia has provided Syria with trucks to carry the toxins to Danish and Norwegian ships waiting in the port of Latakia, but as recently as Sunday, Syrian officials had made no effort to load the trucks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the operation.

Yes, progress is what’s important:

The Obama administration has sought to play down the missed deadline, with officials suggesting the plan to remove President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal remains on track. “As long as we see forward progress that’s what’s most important here, and we have,” Marie Harf, the US state department’s deputy spokesperson, said on Monday…

Syria’s non-compliance will raise fears that the Assad regime may intend to delay the process for as long as possible. Further delays would highlight the west’s impotence and paralyse the debate over intervention. The missed deadline comes at a time when some western leaders privately concede that Assad’s continued survival is Syria’s least worst option.

Yes, it might raise that fear— a fear that was entirely predictable in 2013 when we first had this debate.

Hey, look on the bright side. Now, Obama has a fellow Nobel Peace Prize Winner almost as deserving as he was. That team can’t help but crack this case. Peace is nigh.

Update: Guy Benson touched on this a couple days ago, and what our “leadership” has wrought beyond Syria:

Regime change — “Assad must go” — remains the official US stance vis-a-vis Syria (I think), an outcome that looks less imminent by the day. Meanwhile, sectarian fighting has spilled into Lebanon, prompting the Saudis to send billions in aid to help fortify the country’s army. According to NBC News, “one of the few institutions not overtaken by the sectarian divisions that plague the country, Lebanon’s army is ill-equipped to deal with internal militant groups…The Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia may be seeking to bolster the army as a counterbalance to Hezbollah, seen as the most effective and powerful armed group in Lebanon and funded by the regional Shi’ite power Iran.” The Obama administration appears unwilling to do or say much of anything that may ruffle Tehran’s fragile sensibilities, for fear of chasing the Iranians away from the negotiating table.


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Duh.

ladyingray on January 3, 2014 at 7:04 PM

It doesn’t matter. Obama and Kerry blew it from the start. Rather than punish Assad for using chem weapons they rewarded him with a guarantee to have us not remove him. Whether he actually cooperates or not now is irrelevant. He knows that we won’t remove him. He has been given his reward for his bad behavior.

MJBrutus on January 3, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Syria – Iraq – Iran

“Smart Power” bringing Armageddon to the Middle East in YOUR near future.

Don’t worry – Paul Krugman predicts war & destruction as key to economic recovery.

PolAgnostic on January 3, 2014 at 7:06 PM

Don`t worry, all deadlines with Obama are moveable. :)

ThePrez on January 3, 2014 at 7:07 PM

…the only “line” JugEars and Horseface know…is a coke line !

KOOLAID2 on January 3, 2014 at 7:23 PM

“but we are still operating on the June 30th timeline for the complete destruction.”

That sounds about right for BarkyCare.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on January 3, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Fortunately, Obama’s stupidity worked in our favor for once. A stalemate is the best we can hope for in Syria.

blink on January 3, 2014 at 7:20 PM

That approach worked out real well in the Spanish Civil War didn’t it?

kcewa on January 3, 2014 at 7:30 PM

Russia has provided Syria with trucks to carry the toxins to Danish and Norwegian ships waiting in the port of Latakia, but as recently as Sunday, Syrian officials had made no effort to load the trucks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the operation.

Syrians: We don’t wanna ship out this poison. We might need it next time the Americans invade Iraq.

Russians: Don’t vorry about it. Vladimir says Obama wants to be flexible. Ve send out za trucks empty, and tell Obama they’re full. Ve move forward, right?

Steve Z on January 3, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters 9h

Nordic convoy heads for Syria on delayed chemical weapons mission http://reut.rs/19ELsht
======================

Nordic convoy heads for Syria on delayed chemical weapons mission

NICOSIA Fri Jan 3, 2014 3:06pm EST
***********************************

(Reuters) – Four Norwegian and Danish vessels, which are due to ship hundreds of tonnes of deadly chemicals out of Syria, headed for international waters off the Syrian coast on Friday, a Norwegian military spokesman said.

The operation has missed its December 31 target date but, Lars Magne Hovtun said, the ships have now left the Cypriot port of Limassol, about 160 miles west of Latakia port where they are due to collect their chemical cargo.

“The four ships have now set a course toward a holding area in international water outside Syria, so we are most ready to enter the port of Latakia when the order arrives,” he said.(MORE….)
===============================================================

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/03/us-syria-crisis-chemicals-idUSBREA020I320140103?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&dlvrit=992637

canopfor on January 3, 2014 at 7:37 PM

And al Qaeda is making a comeback in Iraq. To go along with their gains in Syria and Libya. Not to mention what will soon happen in Afghanistan.

Along with the Obamacare disaster, these are a few of the many reasons why a nation should not elect someone as President who has nothing but ‘Community Organizer’ on his resume.

But then, that’s what an increasingly moronic, undereducated, celebrity obsessed, and heavily indoctrinated electorate in a universal suffrage democracy is likely to do. Especially if they think they can get even more free government cheese if they do.

farsighted on January 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM

Maritime Executive ‏@Mar_Ex 7h

Nordic Convoy Heads for #Syria on Delayed Chemical Weapons Mission http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Nordic-Convoy-Heads-for-Syria-on-Delayed-Chemical-Weapons-Mission-2014-01-03/
==========================================================

January 03, 2014
Nordic Convoy Heads for Syria on Delayed Chemical Weapons Mission
******************************************************************

http://www.maritime-executive.com/article/Nordic-Convoy-Heads-for-Syria-on-Delayed-Chemical-Weapons-Mission-2014-01-03/

https://twitter.com/Mar_Ex

canopfor on January 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM

How’d that “restore respect for America” thing work out for you, obama voters?

paul1149 on January 3, 2014 at 7:58 PM

I blame Putin.
-Obama

tommer74 on January 3, 2014 at 8:06 PM

Red line crossed again….oh well

jaywemm on January 3, 2014 at 8:08 PM

Well, on the plus side, we have been spared the spectacle of The One ordering a CBG in the Med or B-2s from Diego Garcia to strike, only to cancel the mission and call them back about the time they go feet-dry inbound on the IP. Then going on vacation to improve his fairway shots.

That still wouldn’t be quite as bad as Lurch having won in ’04.

Although you have to admit, him standing behind a podium, Botoxed to the max, with a frozen rictus grin on his face, and proclaiming in a near-ultrasonic shriek,

I am de rock’n’roll prezz-i-DENNNTT!!

Would have been even more whacked-out than the Dean Scream.

Either way, I suspect the entire world will breathe a huge sigh of relief when these two wingdings finally pack up and move to Martha’s Vineyard, or wherever, in January of ’17. Hopefully taking their entire Crashing Circus* with them.

*Opposite of Flying Circus, as in “Monty Python’s”. Some people can be bizarre and funny, others can be funny without being bizarre. This bunch is just bizarre.

clear ether

eon

eon on January 3, 2014 at 8:11 PM

Speaking of Syria:

The Associated Press ‏@AP 2m

Doctors Without Borders says 5 of its staffers in Syria taken for questioning: http://apne.ws/Jznjgb
==================================

5 Doctors Without Borders staffers seized in Syria
By BASSEM MROUE
— Jan. 3, 2014 5:27 PM EST
***************************

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/5-doctors-without-borders-staffers-seized-syria

canopfor on January 3, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Irony

Putin is king of the world…because obama made him so.

Schadenfreude on January 3, 2014 at 8:13 PM

Dang. Just wait until President Obama finds out.

rogerb on January 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Syrian officials had made no effort to load the trucks, according to U.S. officials familiar with the operation.

Maybe they were still looking for volunteers, or for Mike Rowe and crew to show up to film Dirty Jobs.

Flange on January 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Oh Vlad, don’t stop…..don’t stop….

-O’Bozo

WryTrvllr on January 3, 2014 at 8:15 PM

UN Security Council votes to destroy Syrian chemical weapons
3d
Ships waiting to remove Syria’s chemical weapons are returning to port, signalling a key deadline will not be met – @BBCNews
read more on bbc.co.uk

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-25557989
====================================================

http://www.breakingnews.com/item/2013/12/28/removal-of-chemical-weapons-from-syria-will-miss-d/

canopfor on January 3, 2014 at 8:16 PM

Did anyone save the Photoshop of Obama riding b1tch on Putin’s horse with his bike helmet? That was priceless.

smoothsailing on January 3, 2014 at 8:17 PM

SMART Power!!!!1111!!!!elebinty

You got to love the people that think they are real smart but have NO experience running things.

Could we have the stupid people back in charge please?

jukin3 on January 3, 2014 at 8:18 PM

You wanna know the bigger surprise: PEOPLE ARE STILL DYING!

But hey, the horror of being killed by chemical weapons as opposed to dying from an artillery shell. We gotta do something about that.

reddevil on January 3, 2014 at 8:23 PM

farsighted on January 3, 2014 at 7:44 PM

^^^
This.

dpduq on January 3, 2014 at 8:28 PM

You got to love the people that think they are real smart but have NO experience running things.

jukin3 on January 3, 2014 at 8:18 PM

I have no real animus against people who think they are real smart but have NO experience running things. That pretty much describes every academic I’ve ever known.

I have a problem with people like Obama (and pretty much everybody in his administration). They think they are brilliant even though they’ve never done anything except suck from the public teat but have no problem telling others with experience that they are doing it all wrong. Christina Romer’s look was priceless when she finally discovered that the socialist economic crap she had been preaching for years at Berkeley didn’t actually work in the real world.

Happy Nomad on January 3, 2014 at 8:28 PM

Maybe they were still looking for volunteers, or for Mike Rowe and crew to show up to film Dirty Jobs.

Flange on January 3, 2014 at 8:14 PM

Or maybe they were just buying time with any agreement at all.

Happy Nomad on January 3, 2014 at 8:30 PM

You can’t really have “Smart Power” or “Smart Diplomacy” when your operation is run by a bunch of dummies.

Adjoran on January 3, 2014 at 9:12 PM

So? The entire middle east is a cesspool. I’ve changed my opinion on what we need to do there.

We need to protect our oil interests. That’s it. Pull everyone else out and let them kill each other.

Tell all our enemies there that if they act against our oil interests, we’ll turn their whole country into a self-lighting, glass-covered parking lot.

Of course Obozo will never do anything of the sort. He’ll just bend over, like he always has, and do whatever our enemies say to do.

Meople on January 3, 2014 at 9:28 PM

Today the war between Al Qaeda terrorists(islamic state in Iraq and Syria) and the Syrian rebels broke wide into the open and it is going to be very bloody… So now the Syrian rebels are fighting Al Qaeda terrorists on one side and the Iran/Assad/Hizballah axis of terror on the other side…

mnjg on January 3, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Meh. This is just another Faux News story. We all know that Syria met the deadling. President Obama told us they would, therefore it had to have happened.

#StupidRacists

TheLoudTalker on January 3, 2014 at 10:16 PM

That reminds me. When do the Chicago Olympics opening ceremonies take place? :-)

TheLoudTalker on January 3, 2014 at 10:16 PM

Wasn’t there a red line? I could’ve sworn there was a red line around here somewhere.

Wino on January 3, 2014 at 10:29 PM

Admit it … no one at Hotair was caught by “surprise”, over this development.

Not even the “trolls.”

I can’t convince myself that anyone at the White House, or Pentagon is surprised by it either.

listens2glenn on January 3, 2014 at 10:43 PM

Like Prezy Zero cares; Syria is a small country a long ways from Hawaii.

ghostwalker1 on January 3, 2014 at 11:40 PM

I’m surprised you showed up on this thread. You claimed several months ago that Syria would be disarmed of chem weapons within a month.

blink on January 3, 2014 at 10:51 PM

I was wrong, so f***ing what?…

mnjg on January 3, 2014 at 11:57 PM

You were dead wrong despite everyone telling you that you were crazy for even making such a stupid assertion.

Do you care to comment on your extreme naiveté? Are you embarrassed by it?

blink on January 4, 2014 at 12:18 AM

Go f*** yourself…

mnjg on January 4, 2014 at 12:37 AM

The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State
can shield the people from the political, economic and/or
military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally
important for the State to use all of its powers to
repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the
lie, and thus by extension the truth becomes the greatest
enemy of the State.

Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels

roflmmfao

donabernathy on January 4, 2014 at 12:48 AM

Obama was just kidding about the red-lines and deadlines – and John Kerry promised an incredibly tiny reaction any way.

The one who should be mad about this is John McCain who personally posed with Syrian terrorists to support another intervention in the Middle East. What does John have to say? Is he still mad about it, or has he changed the channel on his faux-outrage political signal receiver?

virgo on January 4, 2014 at 3:50 AM

Obama should be familiar with lies. He lies his ass off and expects the truth from bloody dictators and Russia?

I think not.

Sherman1864 on January 4, 2014 at 6:03 AM

TheLoudTalker on January 3, 2014 at 10:16 PM

There you go!

Sherman1864 on January 4, 2014 at 6:05 AM

I think we (the West) should do a turn about and support Bahsar Al Assad fully (whether or not he allows Russia to posses his WMD). Having Assad in power in the region is a whole helluva lot better than the alternative we are currently watching unfold before our eyes. Assad and Al Qaeda are both destroying the moderates in the rebellion. Once the militant groups consolidate and improve their coordination in this war, it’s curtains for El Bashar. Dictators be damned, but…The enemy of my enemy……

When all is said and done, with the current progression of events in the middle east, We may only have two possible allies in the region. An Assad Syria and Israel.

It’s a scary prospect for the entire world. Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Libya, Egypt. The rest will fall. Hell-bent on creating a militant caliphate and launching nuclear (the Hand of GOD) tipped missiles toward the west. I believe the fate of the world depends on the results in Syria. This is the lynch-pin that is currently holding full-blown world war between Al Qaeda and all “non-believers”. This will be the first real nightmare we have truly witnessed in this century. Billions dead.

Hammie on January 4, 2014 at 11:57 AM

If you like your weapons of mass destruction, you can keep your weapons of mass destruction. Period.

S. D. on January 4, 2014 at 2:57 PM