“It’s a smoke screen,” said former U.S. ambassador to Bahrain Adam Ereli of the Russian-backed proposal for international monitors to remove Syria’s chemical weapons. “Nobody knows how many weapons they have, nobody knows where they are. It all depends on the Syrians providing full, accountable transparency.”

Former State Department official Robert Joseph, who helped negotiate Libya’s agreement to give up its nuclear and chemical weapons a decade ago, also said he believes the Syrian offer is a ruse.

“I don’t think for one moment that the Syrians will give up their chemical weapons stocks. They will say they will give it up and they will play the game to undercut any support for a military strike. But they will then start to put conditions on verification and on the foreign presence in Syria,” Joseph said. “Soon, they will start in with Israel; demanding that Israel’s nuclear weapons be put on the table. All of this will lead nowhere for the United States — exactly where Damascus and Moscow want it to go.”…

“I am unaware of anyone successfully gaining control of stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and monitoring them and ultimately eliminating them in the middle of a war,” said Thomas Graham, a former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency official who helped negotiate the Chemical Weapons Convention. “It’s a difficult task even in peacetime. … I won’t say it’s impossible, but it would appear to be extremely difficult.”