There was coverage of the prospect of this happening by the time Quotes of the day went up last night, but this morning it seems the news is official. A deal has been struck, and it’s pretty much everything Vladimir Putin was insisting on and nothing that the Obama administration wanted for insurance.
U.S., Russia reach agreement on seizure of Syrian chemical weapons arsenal
The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons and said Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week.
The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.
Kerry said that the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin next year.
I’ve been watching some talking heads on CNN this morning trying to spin this as some sort of a win-win, but that sounds like an awful lot of lipstick to try to paint on one rather sickly pig. On the plus side, if you weren’t interested in a war where we wind up helping one of several sets of bad guys, this clearly will be a win. But if you’re monitoring the domestic and international politics and power plays in action, this wound up being nothing but a big old black eye for Barack Obama and John Kerry, while returning Vladimir Putin for a strutting turn on the world stage as a power broker.
Will this be quick, as the President demanded? Not hardly. There will supposedly be “a list” turned over within a week. Of course, you know how lists are… details, details. Things can change, ya know? And will there be severe repercussions if Assad fails to live up to the terms of the deal in an orderly fashion? Of course there will! But it will be more sanctions, which never seemed to bother him in the fist place. Kerry was clearly pushing for a resolution which included at least a hint of a shadow of a possibility that the UN would give the thumbs up to some form of military action in the event of non-compliance, but Putin managed to erase that entirely.
In short, if this turns out to be a ploy and nothing in Damascus really changes, the UN – with Russia’s blessing – is firmly on track to resort to some serious tongue clucking and speaking in lofty tones. That should show Assad who’s the boss of him, eh? But on the plus side, we seem to be off the hook for becoming al Qaeda’s air force, so that’s better than nothing. Unfortunately, it looks like this deal only produced one real winner, and he’s the man with three letters in his eyes.