But don’t listen to the Syrian government. Listen to the media eagerly clucking how Obama’s courageous might made possible a deal that will leave Assad free to win the civil war… and possibly have to give up his chemical weapons in exchange.
The plan, which details the extent of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, calls for the weapons’ destruction by the middle of next year. As , Secretary of State John Kerry, who brokered the deal in Geneva with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, said that “there can be no games” to avoid full compliance.
“We welcome these agreements,” Syrian National Reconciliation Minister Ali Haidar tells Russian news agency . “On the one hand, they will help Syrians come out of the crisis, and on the other hand, they prevented the war against Syria by having removed a pretext for those who wanted to unleash it [war].”
Crediting the work of Russia’s leaders, Haidar said, “This is a victory for Syria won thanks to our Russian friends.”
From our standpoint it’s not a bad deal. The only real strategic threat from Syria came from WMDs. If they can be cleaned out, which I doubt, Assad and the Muslim Brotherhood can spend the next century fighting over the rubble.
Under the pact, Syria must submit a “comprehensive listing” of its chemical weapons stockpiles within one week, Mr Kerry said.
He told a news conference with Mr Lavrov that UN weapons inspectors must be on the ground in Syria no later than November.
The goal, he said, was the complete destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons by the middle of 2014.
There was no agreement on what those measures would be, but US president Barack Obama reserves the right to use military force in Syria, Mr Kerry said.
Any expectation that the UN would approve the use of force is unrealistic. So Assad has bought himself months and maybe years of time resetting the clock.
Obama and Kerry accidentally stumbled into a possibly positive outcome while humiliating the United States and destroying its perception of strength in the Middle East.
In the long term, that means Iran perking up and pushing its nuclear program further as Russia presses its newly gained advantage. All that makes the region more unstable and brings another set of wars closer.
Assad will doubtfully give up his full range of weapons. But as the months drag by, there will be endless wrangling about it, just like in Iraq, and Obama will find his regional attention tied up by the hole he stepped into.
Obama’s red line crack may in the long run have destroyed his second term.