‘Plan B’ for Syria?

putinlThe Syrian crisis has taken another curious turn. Yesterday, before President Obama made his case to the public for some sort of military strike against the regime of Bashar Assad, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced that his nation would push the Syrian government to put its chemical weapons cache under international control. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem claimed his nation agrees with the idea. “Syria welcomes the Russian proposal out of concern for the lives of the Syrian people, the security of our country and because it believes in the wisdom of the Russian leadership that seeks to avert American aggression against our people,” he said.

The surprise development came within hours of an ambiguous ultimatum issued by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said Assad had one week to turn over all of his chemical weapons or face a military attack. Kerry then said it was unlikely Assad would do so. Sensing a potential problem, the State Department quickly characterized Kerry’s comments as a “rhetorical argument,” not an actual offer. What Kerry really meant, according to Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, “was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons.”

Nonetheless, Lavrov promised that Moscow would attempt to convince Syria to do exactly that. “If the establishment of international control over chemical weapons in that country would allow avoiding strikes, we will immediately start working with Damascus,” Lavrov said. “We are calling on the Syrian leadership to not only agree to placing chemical weapons storage sites under international control, but also on its subsequent destruction and fully joining the treaty on prohibition of chemical weapons,” he added.

Lavrov has already handed the proposal to Moallem. In return he hopes to get a “quick, and, hopefully, positive answer.”

The devil remains in the details. As of now, it remains unclear how such a procedure would be implemented, or whether placing such weapons under international control would occur inside Syria, or require the weapons to be transferred to another country such as Turkey or Russia.

Lavrov’s statement comes after media reports alleged that Russian President Vladimir Putin had sought some kind of negotiated settlement along these lines after discussing Syria with President Barack Obama during the group of 20 summit in St. Petersburg last week. Yet Lavrov was quick to note that Putin was not attempting to broker a deal “behind the back of the Syrian people.” Moreover, both Syria and Russia have dismissed the accuracy of American intelligence, insisting that the chemical attack was perpetrated by rebels trying to drag America into Syria’s civil war.

Following their discussion, Lavrov and Moallem said U.N. weapons inspectors should complete their investigation regarding that chemical attack and present its findings to the U.N. Security Council. Moallem further insisted that his nation is ready to host the inspectors and ready to use every opportunity available to convince the United States that it didn’t perpetrate the chemical attack that killed 1400 people on August 21, according to U.S. intelligence. Syria, Moallem promised, was ready for “full cooperation with Russia to remove any pretext for aggression.”

The plan was welcomed by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who contended it could help overcome the “embarrassing paralysis” of the world body. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who has been prevented by the British Parliament from pursuing military action against Syria, was also on board, calling the ostensible deal a “big step forward.” Yet Cameron also remained wary, warning that “we have to be careful, though, to make sure this is not a distraction tactic to discuss something else rather than the problem on the table.”

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), who oppose the Obama administration’s military option, put together a resolution giving Syria 45 days to abide by the international laws banning the use of  chemical weapons and take “concrete steps” to comply. Heitkamp released a written statement noting that this would give Assad the opportunity to “begin the process of turning over its chemical weapons.” “If, after 45 days, the Assad regime mistakes our deliberate and careful democratic process for lack of will and immunity, it does so at its own peril,” she added.

The duo has been promised a vote on their proposal.

In the meantime, senior White House and the State Department officials said they would welcome such a development, though they remained highly skeptical regarding Syria’s intentions. In a blitz of interviews Monday President Obama seemed to react positively to the prospect of negotiating with Syria. Deputy U.S. national security advisor Tony Blinken said the administration would “welcome a decision and action by Syria to give up its chemical weapons,” but that their “track record to date, doesn’t give you a lot of confidence.” State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf warned Syria against “another stalling tactic” further noting that the Russians “for months and years have stood up for the Syrian regime at the UN and in the international community.”  Deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes also insisted Washington would not “take the pressure” off Assad’s regime, contending that the threat of military force was the impetus behind the Russian initiative.

That is highly unlikely. What is more likely is that Vladimir Putin heard John Kerry draw another red line with an off-the-cuff offer attached to it and decided to take advantage of Kerry’s admission. Kerry further revealed the trepidation of the White House with his ridiculous statement about how the war would be prosecuted using an “unbelievably small, limited kind of effort.” If that sounds familiar, it’s because Barack Obama promised that America’s military involvement in the Libyan civil war would “last days, not weeks.” In fact that war lasted nearly seven months beginning in March 2011 and ending in late October.

Furthermore, once Putin led the way, it was almost a no-brainer that the Democratically-controlled Senate, faced with a choice of supporting the president (and alienating a substantial majority of the American public in the process) or voting against the use of force and turning Obama into a de facto lame duck with three years left in his term, would likely welcome a “third way” that essentially kicks the can down the road. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), for instance, said that the Russian plan “would be a great step forward.” Regardless, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Senate will meet with the president today, with Obama expected to continue selling the military option. But there is little doubt his case has been weakened by his Secretary of State, his chief international political rival, and Syria’s claim that it is amenable to the Russian offer.

The long-term effects of this gambit may also be troubling. Obama’s approach to Syria has been overtly amateurish. The opening paragraph of a Politico column inadvertently reveals the latest manifestation. “The White House insisted Monday that it was legally able to launch a strike on Syria without congressional approval even as it intensified its courting of lawmakers to support military action,” it stated.

In other words, the president is threatening Congress and courting it at the same time.

By contrast, Vladimir Putin, who previously demonstrated his contempt for the president by granting Edward Snowden asylum, has taken control of the crisis in such a way that, at the very least, he has likely bought even more time for his Syrian ally to make preparation for any conflict with the U.S., even as he appears statesmanlike in the process. Putin’s ability to easily outmaneuver Obama will not be lost on other Middle East leaders.

Or the American public it seems. A national poll released late yesterday afternoon revealed Obama’s approval rating on foreign policy has hit an all-time low. Only 40 percent of Americans back his overall foreign policy and only three-in-ten approve of his approach to Syria, and whopping 63 percent of Americans give him a thumbs down.

Last night, the president granted interviews to six networks to make his case regarding the use of force in Syria. The same president who made the case that the Benghazi attack was all about a video, and who promised “to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.” Tomorrow will mark the one year anniversary of that attack, and no one has been brought to justice. Perhaps Obama may yet learn that once one has squandered one’s credibility, it is impossible to regain it.

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  • veter

    Putin: 2, Obama: 0

  • Rall76

    …with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted…

    Sounds like Obama, doesn’t it?

  • ziggy zoggy

    Hahaha. Poor little Obama. The “consummate” politician and his equally inept cabinet members keep getting spanked by Putin. I never thought I’d root for a Russian President over an American one but this is some funny $hit.

    The Obamaburo must be working longer than their usual three hour shift to rewrite his speech for today. I’m sure it’ll be another winner for anybody who needs a nap. After he reads it, Putin will probably find a new way to pick on him.

    • 1dudette

      The speech will be a winner for those who like throwing shoes at the TV whenever Odumbo appears. I’ve developied killer target skills over these last couple years.

  • John P

    It’s a sad day when I see Russia take the lead over my country in sensible leadership.

    • defcon 4

      I someone else pointed out, I trust Putin more than I trust our entire presidential regime put together.

      • John P

        It’s probably true only because the scope of what Obama is trying to do to us is so radical, but still Putin is maneuvering for power to re-establish an autocratic regime. But it’s a real tragedy to watch the Russian media chagrined at what Obama is doing after it cost them so much to get out from under Communism.

  • Adheeb

    Leave it to Obama to make a communist look good.

  • http://www.facebook.com/melvin.polatnick Melvin Polatnick

    It would take no more than 45 days for UN inspectors to gather up all the poison gas weapons in Syria and dump them in the Arabian Sea. BUt Obama wants a war which will have Syria and Iran singing: god bless America.

    • Paul of Alexandria

      And kill all of the fish. That stuff has to be destroyed properly, in an incinerator, and it takes quite a while. We’re still burning some of our stockpile from the 50’s and 60’s, before we decided that it was a bad idea to keep the stuff.

  • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

    Eventually you will come to understand that Barry Soetoro (aka Barack H. Obama, Barry Obama, Barack Obama Soebarkah, Harrison J. Bounel) is a Fraud in Chief and/or a Usurper in Chief. If anyone else on planet America was using a forged birth certificate and a forged Selective Service card they would be facing prison time and yet conservative IDIOTS refuse to speak or write about it. Thank God for Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his crew of criminal investigators who have packaged the evidence to prove this man is our biggest national security risk. The SCANDAL OF THE CENTURY and Frontpage is not covering it. WHY??

    • Miriam K

      Yes, I totally agree. Not only Frontpage would not cover it, but neither would National Review Online, PJ Media or Breitbart. I sent emails to various people at all those websites on that issue. Never got a response. They wouldn’t even look at the evidence. They should have supported Corsi and WND. Instead they allowed the media to make Corsi look like a freak. It was a very serious strategic mistake. Now Horowitz talks about fighting fire with fire. The birth certificate and the hidden school records is where the fire should have first been fought.

      • sendtheclunkerbacktochicago

        Bottom line, they are all cowards. They say they support our troops but when it comes time for them to put their behinds on the line with not a single bullet flying over their heads the cower like little snakes. It is worse than what you say Miriam K, those at Fox have been threatened with their jobs if they dare report anything about the criminal investigation and the evidence they have collected. Hannity, O’Reilly and Greta have spines made of linguini.

    • Paul of Alexandria

      I think because they gave up. It got lots of screen time at American Thinker and PJMedia, so it has been written about.

  • rbla

    The American people were too afraid to be thought of as racist to throw the bum out in 2012. But the world is not under that constraint and has just chosen Valdimir Putin as the new leader of the free world. Congratulations.

  • Paul of Alexandria

    I think that Assad just out-maneuvered Obama by calling his bluff. 1)
    Assad didn’t fire the chemical weapons, the Muslim Brotherhood “rebels”
    did. Assad can now get Russian troops to protect his own stockpile and
    release his own for other uses. 2) He now has Russian “boots on ground”
    which will serve as a trigger against _us_.

    • defcon 4

      “Us” meaning who? The zero regime? I don’t back that bunch of traitors.

  • cj

    OK, let’s see Assad hand over his chemical weapons…..but the case is being made by Russia and some of us who oppose supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, that the chemicals could have come from the rebels, i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood and their many offshoots……who’s going to demand that their chemicals are handed over as well?

  • chuckie2u

    I dare say all those chemical weapons have been moved and placed in secure spots waiting for a better opportunity. The outhouses and empty buildings that would have been targeted can certainly be singled out again in the U.S.’s show of force at a later date. What type of omlet will be on our Politicians faces if the “moderate” islamist decide to throw chemicals at Israel to fester up more mischief and are nuked in the process?

  • Drakken

    More amateur hour from Comrade Obummer and his minions while Putin runs circles around them. You really have to wonder at the complete idiocy that elected Comrade Obummer, if no one saw this coming, we really do deserve the crash ahead.

  • UCSPanther

    If I was in Putin’s shoes, I would be sending Obama a thank you card for being the gift that keeps on giving…

  • cathy

    Accidental Diplomacy? Kerry now claims credit for Syria weapons proposal
    Published September 10, 2013

  • Ellman48

    “Perhaps Obama may yet learn that once one has squandered one’s credibility, it is impossible to regain it.” Obama’s credibility was squandered long before Dec 31, 2009, Americans are very slow in realizing that they made a big mistake in voting for him, and an even bigger mistake in doing so twice. Before Obama’s second term is over 60% of Americans will recognize what a disaster his 8 years in office have been.

  • William H. Depperman

    Time to Tell The Truth:

    Analysis of the U.S. Orchestrated so-called “Arab

    Spring” Regime
    Change Gambit in the Mideast, Persian Gulf

    And Russia Using
    “Facebook”-Assisted Invasion by Proxy:

    The United States of America
    is an OUTLAW STATE:

    The Sarin Gas
    Attack in Syria was a USA-Orchestrated Mass Provocation to Create a False
    Pretext for Cruise Missile Attacks Designed to do the Job of a “No-Fly Zone”
    and is almost an Exact Repeat of the “Weapons of Mass Destruction” Provocation
    Used by

    The USA to Invade
    Iraq! The Syrian Agreement to turn over all its Chemical Weapons to be
    Destroyed by the United Nations, which the USA Falsely labels a “Delaying
    Tactic” will Only Temporarily Block the USA Cruise Missile Attack! The USA Will
    Direct its Proxy Jihadist Mercenaries to CONTINUE Sarin Gas Attacks so the USA
    can Shriek: “Syria Did NOT turn over ALL its Sarin Gas!”the
    USA-Orchestrated Sarin Gas Provocation will therefore Continue in Order to
    Provide a False Pretext for a 90-Day Cruise Missile War which will be extended
    as USA Directs its Jihadist Proxies to Launch Continuing Sarin Gas and Even VX
    Nerve Gas Attacks! USA Objective is to Overthrow Syria!





    In Libya, Russia GAVE the
    Security Council Vote which Gave the USA the Green Light for A “No-fly Zone” in
    a Direct Quid Pro Quo for Membership in World Trade Organization!


    The United States Has
    Invaded Syria with a Proxy Army of Mercenary

    from 29 countries! “There is NO “Civil War!”

    There is NO “Uprising!”
    There is NO “Sectarian Conflict!” The

    USA cannot Send in Its Own
    Army which is too Demoralized!

    In Syria Russia Continues to
    Hide the true nature of the USA Proxy Invasion! Russia has Provided Passive Support
    for 2½ Yrs for the USA-Directed Destruction of Syria, but Recently partially
    reversed itself to try to hide its role which had become OBVIOUS! Russia
    Covered itself in a carefully contrived way by labeling the August 21st
    Sarin Gas Attack a Provocation, but Refused to Directly Accuse the USA of
    Ordering the Sarin Gas Attack by Its Mercenary Jihadist Proxies with help of
    CIA agents inside Syria! Russia Deliberately Omitted to Mention that Only
    the USA has the MOTIVE to use Sarin Gas Against the Domestic Syrian
    population! Language which did briefly mention Motive only appeared Briefly and
    did not mention THE WORD “MOTIVE,” which is crucial for a Complete
    Understanding! Putin also Knows his Demand that the USA “present Evidence That
    The Syrian Government Carried out the Sarin Gas Attacks to the UN stating
    ‘Otherwise There IS NO EVIDENCE’” (BBC, August 31, 2013), would be
    Covered Up by The majority Of the USA-Controlled world Media. Concise
    Repetition is therefore essential!

    The Sarin Gas Provocation
    was carried out to create a Pretext for the USA to do the work of A “No-Fly
    Zone” in Ninety Days with Tomahawk Cruise Missiles: To Destroy the entire
    Syrian Air Force, all Airfields to prevent Re-supply by Iran and to destroy
    Military as well As Civilian Infrastructure not Already Destroyed by USA
    Mercenary Jihadists and to Overthrow Syria—Just the OPPOSITE of Obama’s BIG
    LIES—and/or to Weaken and Force Syria to accept Ethnic-Religious Partition,
    Permanent War and Subjugation by USA!

    But RUSSIA and both Syria
    and Iran, which allow the Russian Federation to Control and Dictate their
    Politics, cover up the Damascus Sarin Gas Provocation, by accusing “Rebels” Merely And Never breath
    the words: USA Sarin Gas Provocation, and Deliberately Omit The obvious fact
    that the scale of the Sarin Gas attacks indicates the USA Jihadists with help
    Of CIA Agents already in Syria obtained the Sarin Gas from USA with Direct
    Instructions On How, When and Where to Use it, and Omit that ONLY the USA HAS
    MOTIVE for Huge Sarin Gas Attacks in Syria and Divide & Conquer
    Bombings in Lebanon…AND IRAQ!

    Earlier, Russia Falsely
    Appeared to Partially Reverse its Sell-out of SYRIA and Claimed it Would Not
    PERMIT a Syrian “No-Fly Zone! USA Media Covered Up a June 17, 2013 G-8
    Announcement by Russia (See BBC) that it “Would Fundamentally Not Allow
    the Scenario” Of a No-Fly Zone in Syria, Supposedly also Recognizing the Ba’ath
    Socialist Government as “The Legitimate Government of Syria,” motivating
    the USA to begin Arming its Jihadists Openly although the USA has been DIRECTLY
    Arming them and Paying them Since 2011!!

    The False USA Claim that it
    was “NOT arming” its Jihadist/Mercenaries “Directly” was to HIDE the Fact that
    the USA was ALSO Supplying them with Sarin Gas! On June 16th IRAN
    Stated It would Deploy a TINY “4,000 Strong Force” to Syria but it Sent
    NO ONE! This Means Iran will NOT Honor its Mutual Defense Pact with
    Syria which would end the USA Proxy Invasion! Iran apparently agrees
    opportunistically in practice to Permanently Partition and Divide Syria with
    Iran next on the Chopping Block! Note: the USA Directly Threatened both Iran
    and Lebanon in its Resolutions to Bomb Syria! Iran must NOT be Intimidated and
    must put All boots on the Ground in Syria! The USA Directed its Jihadist Proxies
    to drive Unarmed Syrian Kurds into Iraq as a Step Toward Syrian Partition
    because the Kurds support Ba’ath Socialism and Oppose Sharia & Refuse to
    Support USA Jihadists!

    On the Issue of
    USA/“Israeli” Air Strikes: Russia Previously Responded Falsely by Going Through
    The Motions: Antiaircraft/Anti-Ship Missiles promised to Syria to Defend

    Against USA/“Israeli” air
    strikes were Cancelled, which would permit a Tomahawk Attack!

    Russia’s lowered its No-Fly
    Zone stance to: “It would be a violation of International Law! Russia also just
    DISMANTLED similar Missiles Destined for Iran from a 2007 Contract!
    Turning over Syrian Chemical Weapons to the UN would Remove the pretext for USA

    Cruise Missile Campaign and
    make Antiaircraft missiles unnecessary if the USA did not Plan to CONTINUE its
    Sarin Gas Provocations, which it most certainly DOES!

    The USA and Russia Have Worked Together to Try to Distract
    Hezbollah and LULL

    Iran with fake “Nuclear
    Talks” to Prevent Iran from Honoring its Mutual Defense Pact

    With Syria, which would End
    the USA Proxy/Mercenary Invasion of Syria ON THE SPOT!

    Syrian and Hezbollah Forces
    alone Cannot Liberate Aleppo & Areas of Northern & Eastern

    Syria from the USA Proxy
    Invaders from 29 Different Countries! Iran’s Help is Required!

    Capitalism is Fundamentally
    based on War, Mass Murder and Subjugation to Steal New Resources and New
    Markets in order to increase Private Profits!

    We Need to Get Rid of Capitalism! An Idea Whose
    Time Has Come!