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U.S., Russia reach deal for seizure of Syria’s chemical weapons

Russia's Foreign Minister Lavrov and U.S. Secretary of State Kerry attend joint news conference after their meeting in Moscow

Snarky blogger Marie Burns says the headline right-wingers will likely put on THIS STORY will read: “War Averted, Lives Saved, Obama Is a Weakling.”

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.

Senior administration officials had said Friday the Obama administration would not press for U.N. authorization to use force against Syria if it reneges on any agreement to give up its chemical weapons.

The Russians had made clear in talks here between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Kerry [above] that the negotiations could not proceed under the threat of a U.N. resolution authorizing a military strike. Russia also wanted assurances that a resolution would not refer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to the International Criminal Court for possible war-crimes prosecution.

President Obama has said that the unilateral U.S. use of force against Syria for a chemical attack last month remains on the table. But consideration of that action, already under challenge by a skeptical Congress, has been put on hold pending the outcome of the Geneva talks.

The discussions here began this week following a Russian proposal Monday, quickly agreed to by Assad, to place Syria’s chemical arsenal under international control and eventually destroy it.

Kerry and Lavrov, negotiating behind closed doors with teams of disarmament experts, have said little about the talks that began Thursday. But administration officials in Washington provided some details on the condition that they not be identified or quoted directly.

The officials insisted that any agreement must be verifiable and include consequences for non-compliance. Short of a threatened use of force, it is not clear what those consequences would be.

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17 Comments

  1. A better headline might be “War delayed, one hundred thousand dead and climbing, Putin saves Obama’s heinie”

  2. doc: Your Obamaphobia is downright pathological. Obama has snookered Putin into ownership of the Syrian Civil War, and you think Putin has saved Obama’s heinie.”

    I hope your grasp of medical science is better than your grasp of international politics. But then, it could hardly be worse.

    You are so predictably anti-Obama, no matter the facts of the issue at hand. It’s utterly Pavlovian.

  3. By the way, doc, I bet you loved the part of Putin’s op-ed in The New York Times where he took issue with Obama’s claim of “American exceptionalism.” Like your fellow wingnuts, you probably figure the Kenyan interloper has no right to pretenses of patriotism, right?

  4. Brian Opsahl

    Doc, this is really a very brilliant move on Obama’s part…I was really hoping that he was attempting to involve the Russians so we could stand back and stay out…that’s exactly what happened…and watch how the bag’s at fox spin this…?

  5. Pat your brilliance is a light unto the ages.

    Clarify for us dullards in the audience: Are you saying that the President was planning the Russian intervention all along? Even way back when he made the red line comment?

    That my friend is just not credible, in fact, it is more like magical thinking from an avowed Obamaphile.

    I have to admit though, that it does get tiring having you call me a hater, Obamaphobe etc. just because I disagree with an Obama or liberal policy.

    As far as Putin and American exceptionalism, I didn’t like what he said, because I disagree with him and apparently with the President as well. At least the 2013 version of the Mr. Obama.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/09/12/american-exceptionalism-explained/

    But others saw Obama’s words as evidence that being president has given him — as it has everyone who has sat in the Oval Office — a different perspective on America’s unique role in the world.

    “I sat up a little straighter in my seat when he said it, because the contrast with his dismissal of American exceptionalism in the fall of 2009 was stark,” said William A. Galston, who was a top adviser to President Bill Clinton and who now is a senior fellow at the left-of-center Brookings Institution.

    “I think he probably understands better than he did four years and eight months ago that collective action is a lot easier to talk about than bring about,” added Galston. “We’re exceptional in the sense that only we have the power to do what is necessary. … I think he understands that now, and Syria has brought that into high relief for him

  6. Oops, that was a little confusing. I meant to state that I disagree with Putin and agree with the President’s recent comments about American exceptionalism.

  7. Brian Opsahl

    We are not firing a single shot…as opposed to somebody else who would of, starting with McCain,Rumsfeld,Cheney,Bush after Chenny told him to and many other neocons…and that is the differance from one to the other..

    Obama did say some dumb thing’s about that red line ..i will give you that.

  8. We have not fired a single shot…..yet.

    Assad has literally gotten away with murder and a major violation of international law. Putin is no friend of the U.S.. I wonder what will happen when the Syrians/Russians violate the current agreement? What excuse will we make? How much will we let them get away with before we are forced to take action?

    Not only is this not the final chapter of this story, the end of the book isn’t even in sight.

  9. Regarding America’s exceptionalism. I have to post this video (again) from the tv series The Newsroom. It captures the essence of that statement and what it once stood for in different times, when we were a nation, united in that pursuit.

    We lead the world in the number of people incarcerated per capita , the number of people who believe angels are real, and defense spending.

    I know most won’t watch this, but its worth pondering. It’s reflective of a time most of us can remember.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqcLUqYqrs

  10. Brian – Rumsfeld has recently stated he was against getting involved in Syria. Bush has not made any notable comment on the scenerio. So as usual, you’re wrong.

    So what did Obama actually do? He drew a red line, then backed off from his own comments, then further backed off after England already voted to stay out of it. There is no way Assad was in any way threatened or intimitated by anything said by Obama. If anything, the United States’ involvement in this entire matter have turned out to be irrelevant. We were a non-player. Trying to give Obama credit is ridiculous. The only sensible thing he did was decide to defer to Congress, so he essentially took himself out of the loop.

    Russia has a military prescense in Syria. They took control of it because it was in their own best interest. It wasn’t because Obama “allowed them to” or “forced them to” or whatever else stupid statement the left is claiming.

  11. Steverino

    Obama drew a red line, then went around end, then tip toed through the rose garden, then ate a vegan meal, then met secretly with a commie, then took a long vacation. The man brokered a deal to prevent a war with a country that used real WMDs so let’s give him some credit.

  12. A diplomatic solution was always the goal. John Kerry said that in one of is first televised speeches even though he went on to beat the war drums quite emphatically.

    Since using chemical weapons is considered a taboo in warfare (kind of like torture is but no problem, just call it enhanced interrogation and you can get away with it), I do hope whoever did use them is brought to trial, because even though the USA claims Assad did it, not even the UN has definitive evidence who did it in August or the two prior incidents. It’s all circumstantial from what I’ve read.

    I think both Obama, Kerry, Lavrov and Putin should be praised for not employing a military solution. I do find the images of smiles and hand slapping like the one in this article and others I’ve seen, very distasteful. Considering that many people were killed in this international incident, I would think a little more somber appearance at the outcome of their meeting would have been more appropriate. What I see in that picture is two men who look like they just sealed a deal for two sports teams, that will play each other in some future international event.

  13. kevind1986

    From Joe Klein, the internationally recognized liberal essayist and Time contributor.

    “He (Obama) willingly jumped into a bear trap of his own creation. In the process, he has damaged his presidency and weakened the nation’s standing in the world. It has been one of the more stunning and inexplicable displays of presidential incompetence that I’ve ever witnessed.”

    You can try to spin Klein into someone other than a writer that promotes the liberal point-of-view at least 90% of the time, but you’ll be lying.

  14. kevind1986

    And Kerry doing backbends trying to say he meant exactly what he said and it worked exactly as intended? There isn’t a listener with an IQ over 90 that is buying it, including the left 2/3 of the media. But not many have the guts to call him on it either. Oh well, lying to the American public is just something he needs to do, I guess.

  15. Brian Opsahl

    Fact is fella’s we didn’t fire a shot and it appears we have avoided getting directly involved.
    Wheather he said this or that doesn’t really matter. What matters is we stay the hell out of there.

    Sometimes not getting involved is just as nobel and gutsey as it would be to be seen as putting up arms to fight.

  16. And I would agree with you Brian if it was intentional on the part of the President. But it wasn’t, it was intentional on Putin’s part. Maybe Putin deserves the Nobel? (or is it noble?)

  17. Brian Opsahl

    Sorry Doc, noble..

    How would you know if he snookered them or not…?
    Even if he got lucky I say that’s better than the alternitive…right…!!

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