There’s a nonshocker. It was predictable that as soon as Assad became a partner in his own chemical disarmament he would seize every opportunity to postpone and prevaricate. The regime now insists it needs armored vehicles and communications equipment to move the weapons. Next they’ll demand that the stockpile will only be moved when it has new tanks and attack helicopters to escort the convoys, or perhaps when the rebels lay down their arms.
A State Department spokesman reacted to this with the mildest of scoldings that “the delay is increasing the cost to nations” for shipping and other removal efforts. Shipping costs? Don’t expect the Administration to trumpet these violations at the U.N., where China and Russia have shielded Assad, or in Congress, which played its own role in looking away from the dictator’s predations. And nobody should expect Mr. Obama to make good on his pledge—hollow even when he made it in September—to renew the threat of military action “if diplomacy fails.”
But neither should the President get away with treating his Syrian debacle as a victory.