Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 09, 2013

Syria: Lavrov Checkmates Kerry Over Offhand Remark

Secretary of State Kerry held a pretty ridiculous press conference (see at 2.43pm BST) in Britain today which was mocked widely for some unfortunate remarks.

There are three points to discuss. First two minor ones with the big blunder that Lavrov used to checkmate Kerry and a U.S. attack on Syria at the end.

Starting at 4:20 Kerry describes the way the Obama administration wants to attack Syria:

...in a very limited, in a very targeted short term effort that degrades his capacity to deliver chemical weapons without assuming responsibility for Syria's civil war. That is exactly what we are talking about doing. Unbelievable small limited kind of effort. Now that has been engaged in previously on many different occasions. President Reagan had a several hours or whatever effort to send a message to Ghadaffi in the wake I think of Pan Am 103 and other terrorist activities.
Aside from the laughable "unbelievable small" attacks (which will cost Republican votes in the Senate) the lesson to draw from Reagan's attack on Libya is exactly the other way around.

Reagan did not attack Libya over the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie but the destruction of Pan Am 103 in a terrorist attack in December 1988 came after Reagan had carried out a "message sending" attack on Libya and Ghaddafi's family in 1986.

The bombing of Pan Am 103 was the consequence of Reagan's strikes, not their cause. If the comparison of the planed strikes on Syria to Reagan's strikes is to hold, one would expect additional terrorist attacks on planes as a consequence of U.S. attacks on Syria. Pan An 103 is an argument not to strike Syria but Kerry has some "unbelievable small" historic knowledge and does not see that.

A second minor point is in Kerry's remarks in which he mocks the Syrian president Assad's credibility (at 1:25):

I personally visited him once on the instruction of the White House to confront him on his transfer of Scud missiles to Hizbullah which we knew has taken place and all kinds of facts and he set there and simply denied it to my face not withstanding the evidence I presented him and what we showed him.
While the Israelis and U.S. officials at one point claimed such, there is serious doubt that Syria did transfer Scuds to Hizbullah. Scuds are liquid fueled and therefore difficult to handle in the battle field. They need several trucks to carry the missiles and the corrosive fuels and take hours to prepare. If Syria or Iran supplied Hizbullah with missiles in the payload/range capacity of Scuds those would have been more modern solid fueled Fateh-110 which are much easier and faster to handle.

The third and biggest blunder in Kerry's speech starts at 0:04 into the video:

... [Assad] could turn over any single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week. Turn its over. All of it. And without delay and allow the full and total accounting for that. But he isn't about to to do it and it can't be done obviously.
That seemed like an off remark but there have been mentions in the Israeli press of some plans to press Syria into giving up all its strategic weapons which would of course leave it without any retaliation measure against an Israeli attack.

Shortly after Kerry made the remarks about Syria giving up its chemical weapons the State Department tried to walk things back:

The State Department sought Monday to clarify comments from Secretary of State John Kerry about how Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could prevent a military strike from the United States.

Al-Assad "could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week," Kerry said during a press conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague. "But he isn't about to do it and it can't be done, obviously."
...
A spokeswoman for Kerry sought to put his remarks in context moments later.

"Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

But that "rhetorical argument" was taken up by the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov:
Russia has urged Syria to put its chemical weapons under international control for subsequent destruction to avert a possible military strike.

“We are calling on the Syrian authorities not only agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control, but also for its further destruction and then joining the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons,” Lavrov said. “We have passed our offer to Al-Muallem [Syrian Foreign Minister] and hope to receive a fast and positive answer,” he added.

It is unclear if Syria will support the offer, but if it helps to avoid a military strike, Russia is immediately prepared to work with Damascus, Lavrov said.

One could imagine Syria agreeing at least to the first part of Russia's idea. Why not have Russian "international control" officers on the ground of the chemical weapon sites and thereby have quasi human shields who will prevent these sides from being attacked? Why not agree to this minor inconvenience when it will prevent an open U.S. engagement in the war on Syria? Why not use such "international control" to refuted future false flag attacks?

It will anyway take a looong time until those chemical weapons would some day really be destroyed. It takes probably a decade to build the special facilities needed to do so and both, Russia as well as the U.S, are many years behind in fulfilling their own commitments of destroying their chemical weapon stocks.

The Syrian Foreign Minister Moallem welcomed the Russian proposal.

Kerry unconsciously set himself a trap and Russia used it to checkmate him and a U.S. attack on Syria. How can Obama convince Congress to allow him to bomb Syria when there is such an easy (though still to be negotiated) way to avoid starting another war?

Posted by b on September 9, 2013 at 12:09 PM | Permalink

Comments
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Ex-hostage and veteran journalists states that Assad did not use gas
http://www.lastampa.it/2013/09/09/esteri/quirico-e-folle-dire-che-io-sappia-che-non-stato-assad-a-usare-i-gas-D6D63hs2C8E7yMNEDINwGL/pagina.html
(could someone provide a translation?)

On the "Kerry proposal"
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/81200/World/Region/UPDATED-Syrian-FM-welcomes-Russias-Syria-chemical-.aspx

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 12:34:24 PM | 1

In his speech on Tuesday, the president will proclaim a sweeping new ‘Obama Doctrine’, which will hold strictly accountable all those who have used chemical weapons, including the evil-doers who have employed white phosphorous, depleted uranium, Agent Orange, or napalm.

Posted by: Watson | Sep 9, 2013 12:37:45 PM | 2

I was wondering when the situation would become so dim for the Zionists that Israeli citizens would be the targets of the next false flag.

Wonder no longer.

RT sources: Syrian rebels plan chemical attack on Israel from Assad-controlled territories

http://rt.com/news/syria-rebels-chemical-attack-israel-618/

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 12:42:40 PM | 3

Great post as usual but you missed the really funny line:
"...without assuming responsibility for Syria's civil war."
The US being largely, no entirely, responsible for the "civil war."

Then there's this, from emptywheel:
Kerry said:

“Sure, he could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week – turn it over, all of it without delay and allow the full and total accounting (of it) but he isn’t about to do it and it can’t be done.”

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9, 2013 12:58:13 PM | 5

The Belgian hostage has declared he heard a conversation where the rebels were saying they may use gas to force the West into a cnofrontation, but his colleague (salaries and pensions are not that great in Italy) says he is not sure

http://www.rtl.be/info/belgique/faitsdivers/1031019/le-belge-libere-en-syrie-ce-n-est-pas-le-gouvernement-al-assad-qui-a-utilise-le-gaz-

http://www.rtl.be/info/monde/international/1031117/les-preuves-de-piccinin-sur-l-attaque-chimique-en-syrie-n-en-sont-pas-selon-son-codetenu-italien

De Ponte is back and plans to go to Syria soon
http://www.courant.com/news/nation-world/sns-rt-us-syria-crisis-chemical-rights-20130909,0,4414887.story

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 1:00:37 PM | 6

#1 Mina, there is an English translation at the La Stampa website:

http://www.lastampa.it/2013/09/09/esteri/quirico-it-is-madness-to-say-i-knew-it-wasnt-assad-who-used-gas-FjJDJ8oeEI19AZbyKIVBHJ/pagina.html

Posted by: CE | Sep 9, 2013 1:04:16 PM | 7

(Sorry for my misunderstanding of Quirico's statement in #1, the Google translation was bad as usual. But the other articles helped me understand.)

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 1:07:10 PM | 8

Grazie mille!

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 1:10:04 PM | 9

I agree, "checkmate." There is already a somewhat similar proposal sponsored by Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in the senate.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 9, 2013 1:10:12 PM | 10

I'm not so optimistic, and Saddam and Qadhafi cone to mind; forced to give up their weapons and subsequently attacked and killed.

The US, if it even accepts tge offer will demand an Iraq like inspection regime.

OTOH, the best garantor of Syrian defense at the moment is not its chemical stockpile but Russia and Iran. If the Russians are prepared to offer a real state of the art air defense system then it could work.

It may all be moot as the US will reject this offer or attach unacceptable conditions. Please be advised the US is looking to attack and destroy Syria to improve Israel' s strategic balance. It is NOT looking for some face saving qay out. At least not yet.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 9, 2013 1:12:31 PM | 11

I really am not sure about the benefits of Syria's agreeing to even the first part of Russian proposal.
Assuming that the attack on eastern suburbs of Damascus was made by SAA -be it by the direct order of Assad or by some rogue elements among the officers in the SAA- this move would be helpful.
But I am fairly convinced that this was a false flag operation by the rebels/S.Arabia/Israel/USA. And if this was indeed a false flag operation then it means that US is just looking for an "excuse" to attack, and their main goal is to downgrade the SAA's fighting capabilities and tipping the balance in favour of the foreign backed mercenaries. Which in turn would mean, that they can come up with something else anytime they want. They can also always claim that Assad has some hidden sites where he has not taken the Russian officers. After all how much Saddam's permission for the UN inspectors to inspect every corner of his country and even destroying its ballistic missiles (which had nothing to do with WMD)spared Iraq from an American attack?
Besides it is a very humiliating thing that you lose your sovereign rights over your own territory and for some foreign inspectors having the right to inspect any part of your country at will while your opponents have the right to keep increasing the number of their deadliest weapons and using them on your people with complete impunity.

Posted by: Pirouz_2 | Sep 9, 2013 1:15:49 PM | 12

Susan Rice speech headlines of which #3 is interesting vis a vis the reports from RT.


*RICE SAYS OPENING DOOR TO CHEMICAL WEAPONS THREATENS U.S.
*RICE SAYS CHEMICAL WEAPONS COULD BE USED EVEN WITHIN THE U.S.
*RICE SAYS U.S. ALLIES BECOME `TEMPTING TARGETS' IF NO RESPONSE
*RICE SAYS ASSAD ATTACK THREATENS GLOBAL SECURITY, U.S. INCLUDED

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 1:21:53 PM | 13

Of course it could be Lavrov and Assad, who seems to have agreed to the proposal, want to get the US bogged down negotiating a weapons ban. While doing that, whatever momentum the US has behind it will dissipate.

Not sure it will work but so long as Syria doesn't trade its strategic arsenal for pie in the sky I guess it's worth a try.

Posted by: Lysander | Sep 9, 2013 1:24:27 PM | 14

The Russian idea for now is to prevent the U.S. entering the war on the side of the terrorists. Then those terrorists can be fought down. All else comes years later.

I believe that this is a very smart move. It does disarm Obama. With this offer on the table Congress will not agree to war and Obama will have no more reason to go to war. He could not justify it in the U.S. and in the international view.

The State Department is now trying to refute the Russian/Syrian offer but I believe that will fail.

Susan Rice is reading an attack speech that does not yet reflect the offer.

Posted by: b | Sep 9, 2013 1:32:38 PM | 15

Jsorrentine

Lies Lies..

I think susan rice should be more worried about the fact that she look like a male.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 9, 2013 1:32:48 PM | 16

#12 You mean, they are replacing "nuclear threat" by "chemical threat" after realizing brainwashing people with the first one was not effective anymore?
Just a quick way to fix this: let Rice see a few pictures of the Hiroshima dead and injured (I have watched those yesterday and I had no idea films of that existed), and let her see the disformed babies of Falluja. These horror were committed by Americans.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 1:35:23 PM | 17

@12: just caught susan(condi)rices' act on cspan(yet another propaganda arm)...she's calling for a "negotiated" surrender of
President Assad...it's not about CW's, it's about regime change...
always has been.

Posted by: bfrakes | Sep 9, 2013 1:39:51 PM | 18

Many still talk about how stupid George Bush was. It seems now that John Kerry is giving him a run for his money. He started his tenure by inventing a country called Kyrzakhstan. Of course the State Department left that out of its official transcript.

So not only does Kerry tell out-and-out lies. He says things that a Secretary of State should have a MUCH better handle on, such as the names of countries and the sequence of historical events.

Last week he appeared in the Senate chamber and was questioned by Rand Paul. Kerry of course spewed his bullshit. There's a youtube video of it. Watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWVdXuTYlH8

At the very end, as he finishes his lies, he turns to the general sitting off camera to his right and asks if he has anything to add. The general says "No, not really, secretary. Thank you for offering." Kerry, sotto voce, replies "Pull the rug out from under me." I wish they would wrap him up in the rug.

Posted by: Greg | Sep 9, 2013 1:46:55 PM | 19

What the offer has done is paint the White House into a corner where it has to accept the Russian backed deal or attempt to find some other story to continue to involve itself in Syria and its going to be very difficult for Barry, Kerry and co to jump tracks like that given they've invested themselves in the CW Narrative.

Posted by: heath | Sep 9, 2013 1:53:20 PM | 20

The best in the De Ponte interview. She forgot to add "it doesn't apply to Western governements of course"
""We are doing our work, the list of crimes is getting longer, we try to identify high-ranking politicians and military who are implicated," del Ponte said, adding that she had interviewed some senior defectors of the Syrian military.

She suggested that foreign powers that are supplying weapons to either side in the civil war could be held accountable.

"One should pay attention to the states that supply arms either for the government or the rebels. Those who provide arms knowing that they are used to commit war crimes or crimes against humanity may - may - also bear a responsibility.""
http://www.courant.com/news/nation-world/sns-rt-us-syria-crisis-chemical-rights-20130909,0,4414887.story

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 2:03:15 PM | 21

Ban Ki Moon now also supports the Russian offer.

Obama is taping six TV interviews today and will hold a speech tomorrow. He can't ignore this offer. His whole campaign for war is now in disarray. A huge screw up.

US weighs talk of Syria dumping chemical weapons

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department said Monday it would take a "hard look" at a proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons to international control to avoid a military strike, but voiced skepticism that Syria would carry out such a plan.

State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said the U.S. would consider the proposal floated by the foreign ministers of Russia and Syria with "serious skepticism" because it might be a stalling tactic.
...
U.S. officials in Washington initially said they were surprised by Kerry's comments, which came at a news conference with British Foreign Secretary William Hague and in response to a question about what, if anything, Assad could do to stop the U.S. from punishing it for the use of chemical weapons.

Posted by: b | Sep 9, 2013 2:03:23 PM | 22

"What the offer has done is paint the White House into a corner where it has to accept the Russian backed deal.."
Agreed. The chemical weapons are not important to Syria, most of them are probably obsolete and they serve no military purpose.
Rice is reduced to, wait for it, variations on the "model aircraft, released by boats off the east coast", claims that Doug Feith and his gang floated back in 2003.
The United States might still attack, there's no predicting the mad dog's next move but only because it wants to put an end to the laughter around the world.
The obvious next move is call for an urgent Security Council meeting, to examine the apparent breakthrough.
If Lavrov doesn't win the Peace Prize this year John McCain must.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9, 2013 2:12:31 PM | 23

@17

Watched Rice now watching Carney. Disgusting.

Carney just said that the Russian offer is the doing of US pressure/threats.

Pulling the line right out of Iraq playbook: instability of region will INCREASE if we DON'T bomb Assad. War criminals.

Q: is the Russian offer partially US doing? Was this coordinated?
A: Threats work. Will study proposal. Will be skeptical. Assad has been a failure for 20 years. Didn't allow UN inspectors, Assad delayed inspectors.

Q: could proposal delay attack?
A: blah blah

Followup: Was that a YES about delay?
A: dodged it, said have to work Congress. this is different from Iraq/Afghan, no boots on ground blah blah saw UN proposal will look at it

Q: what about earlier CW attacks?
A: this case was egregious (1400 dead, 400 kids) and different look at the VIDEOS! We took appropriate action concerning earlier attacks - huh?

Q: do you want congress to wait?
A: NO!!! vehement sends wrong message to Hezbollah, Tehran blah blah

Q: Power said on Fri. exhausted all means except war is that the Admin line?
A: blah blah will assess proposals but Assad used weapons killed 1400 people 400 kids (over and over again w/ these numbers)

Followup: same question
A: Threats work.

Q: state dept said Russian proposal is BS, but WH says it's willing to negotiate which one is it?
A: terrible tragedy blah blah over and over and over again Carney keeps saying THREATS OF WAR work (no mention that a threat of war is also a war crime)

Over and over with false flag reminders...

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 2:15:00 PM | 24

"U.S. officials in Washington initially said they were surprised by Kerry's comments" Kerry is road kill.

Posted by: heath | Sep 9, 2013 2:21:07 PM | 25

Two main points from Carney as judged by repetition:

1) 1400 dead, 400 kids
2) It's only b/c of US belligerence that there is diplomacy that is why we NEED Authorization passed in Congress. More belligerence = more peace

I get the feeling that the Russians really took them off guard judging by their weak ass reasoning.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 2:22:26 PM | 26

Gareth Porter wrote another excellent report... Obama’s Case for Syria Didn’t Reflect Intel Consensus

Posted by: CTuttle | Sep 9, 2013 2:25:22 PM | 27

I's suggest even supplying the rebels with weapons and other supplies looks bad for the White House as it looks like they want war at any cost instead a negotiated peace settlement.

Posted by: heath | Sep 9, 2013 2:31:09 PM | 28

Horse face Kerry should be part of the cast of Saturday Night Live! His antics and those of the motley crew of screw ups and pathetic mediocritys that make up his staff if it were not for there deadly intent would actually be funny. One of the issues here is that once you lie so much it's hard to keep it together.
Bush was an imbecilic donkey but his team was much, much better than these dolts.

Posted by: Fernando | Sep 9, 2013 2:33:59 PM | 29

I do think it is theater. Obama/Kerry do not seem to get the votes anyway.

Saudis seem to have a PR problem now for some reason
This is from USA Today

Report: Saudis sent death-row inmates to fight Syria

Saudi Arabia has sent death-row inmates from several nations to fight against the Syrian government in exchange for commuting their sentences, the Assyrian International News Agency reports.

Citing what it calls a "top secret memo" in April from the Ministry of Interior, AINA says the Saudi offered 1,239 inmates a pardon and a monthly stipend for their families, which were were allowed to stay in the Sunni Arab kingdom. Syrian President Bashar Assad is an Alawite, a minority Shiite sect.

According to an English translation of the memo, besides Saudis, the prisoners included Afghans, Egyptians, Iraqis, Jordanians, Kuwaitis, Pakistanis, Palestinians, Somalis, Sudanese, Syrians and Yemenis. All faced "execution by sword" for murder, rape or drug smuggling.

Russia, which has backed Assad, objected to the bargain and allegedly threatened to bring the issue to the United Nations, said an unidentified former Iraqi member of Parliament who confirmed the memo's authenticity, says AINA, an independent outlet.

"Initially Saudi Arabia denied the existence of this program. But the testimony of the released prisoners forced the Saudi government to admit, in private circles, its existence," AINA writes. "The Saudis agreed to stop their clandestine activities and work towards finding a political solution on condition that knowledge of this program would not be made public."

AINA also published the original Arabic memo.

The report mentions that most of the 23 Iraqi prisoners returned home, as did an unspecified number of Yemenis. But AINA does not indicate the fates of the remaining inmates or how many may have been killed, wounded or captured.

Assyrians, the builders of Mesopotamian civilizations, are a semitic people indigenous to northern Iraq. They are ethnically distinct from Arabs and Jews, and are generally Christians. Assyria dominated the Middle East in the first millennium BCE.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 9, 2013 2:38:14 PM | 30

The AUMF was headed for defeat in the House. Now, assuming it's not pulled from a vote in the Senate, it will likely fail there as well. The main prop -- chemical weapons -- of U.S. arguments to circumvent the Security Council is being removed from the stage, leaving the real aims of the Obama administration exposed -- bleeding Syria.

Posted by: Mike Maloney | Sep 9, 2013 2:41:26 PM | 31

I wonder if Hilary will now be saying anything about Syria.
http://www.politico.com/story/2013/09/hillary-clinton-syria-96451.html

Posted by: heath | Sep 9, 2013 2:48:41 PM | 32

Fabius Maximumus offers a reminder of one historic 'limited intervention' which some took as an act of war.

Posted by: Yonatan | Sep 9, 2013 2:57:38 PM | 33

The utter clueless sycophancy of people on the left knows no bounds. They are already screaming what a great victory it is for O. "Yea!! This deal would be a big win for Obama!". "He planned it all along!". "Brilliant diplomacy!"

However, being cynical and understanding that a LOT of what one sees on pro-Obama sites is purposeful messaging is what we are seeing the roll-out of new campaign as concerns Congress? Carney reiterated numerous times saying that it was the threat of force that brought about the Russian deal and that is why we need the AUMF. Is this a last ditch effort to roll the vote their way? Not over yet.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 3:05:03 PM | 34

This development is...PRICELESS! Nothing else can describe it! This not only checkmates the U.S. justification for war, but it also checkmates the Zionist agenda to widen the conflict to include Hezbollah/Lebanon and Iran! It's just so sweet I can taste it, but it must taste real bitter in Israel. LOLOLOL!

I agree with the individual who warned: Watch out for coming false flags! Both the rebels/Al Qaeda/Saudi Arabia and Israel have waaaay too much at stake and have invested heavily on creating a wider war to let it go at this. Someone will no doubt try to pull something real dirty to try and reverse this potential outcome...count on it!

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 9, 2013 3:33:00 PM | 35

The History of America, in one album
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHh5AVSVaDs&list=PLD1E08F885AF8228D

Posted by: Mina | Sep 9, 2013 3:34:30 PM | 36

@36 It's a shame that this video clip ruins the beauty of Fairuz's homage to Jerusalem. Maleesh Mina the sentiment of the piece is pretty accurate

Posted by: Nick | Sep 9, 2013 3:53:02 PM | 37

@34

political delineations of left and right and center have shifted drastically in US... there is no "left" to speak of...

I identify as "leftist" ~ but I certainly don't identify with today's Democrats, who remind this old woman of Reagan Republicans. How 'bout some of you others? Do you actually see a "left" in this country?

Posted by: crone | Sep 9, 2013 3:54:13 PM | 38

@34

I should have put "left" in quotes, I usually do. There is no real non-Zionist left in the US. To prove my point, see this:

Included b/c it shamelessly continues the erasure of Israel from the being considered an instigator in this whole situation. Weird this coincides with AIPAC's push in Congress, huh? Coincidence I'm sure.

Noam Chomsky at his gatekeeping finest. Quotes from the piece (my comments in parentheses.)

"Well, Syria is descending into suicide." (suicide, huh? Like when someone chops off my head kind of suicide, NC?)

"What will probably happen, if this continues, is that Syria will be partitioned into probably three regions...The rest of the country will be divided between a region dominated by the Assad regime – a brutal horrifying regime – and another section dominated by the various militias, which range from the extremely malicious and violent to the secular and democratic." (Another mention of the partition meme. Another today here at Democratic Party central.)

"If the US and Israel wanted to assist the rebels – which they do not – they can do it, even without military intervention." (um, this is a lie, NC. Forget about the Israeli missiles, the training of rebels and a host of other items. Really, that statement is utterly shameless.)

"They’re [Israel] also not giving humanitarian aid to the huge number of suffering refugees, not doing all kinds of simple things that they could do." (they are helping wounded jihadists though and have been documented doing so for a while. Another bald-faced lie , NC.)

"All of which suggests that both Israel and the United States prefer exactly what is happening today, just as reported in that NYT story this morning." (really, so NC, what the NYT tells me about what Israel and the US want is where I guess I should start/stop my investigative journey, huh? And no mention of a A Clean Break or any other of the Israeli plans whose goal is the destabilization and ultimate balkanization of the Syrian state which you mention earlier?)

Shameful.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 4:05:30 PM | 39

Crone 38

I don't agree with them mostly but Counterpunch.org seems ok.

Posted by: heath | Sep 9, 2013 4:14:34 PM | 40

@38

Sorry, crone, my last post was to you not @34.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 4:17:43 PM | 41

/Agree that this is a positive move that will box the US in.

Lavrov is a smart guy and took advantage of Kerry's gaffe, now the US is stuck, trying to justify bombing Syria when Assad is willing to voluntarily give up CW's. It cripples the argument for going to war and ensures that afer Assad has got rid of his stockpiles, any further Chem Attack will be clearly on the rebels.

Lets be clear its not a good deal... but the alternative is worse. No one has mentioned that in 2004 Assad entered talks on getting rid of CW's if Israel also got rid of its stockpiles... now it seems only Syria will be giving them up. From that angle its a bad deal.

But the priority is to win the Civil War in Syria and stopping any US airstrikes will go a long way towards that goal.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Sep 9, 2013 4:17:45 PM | 42

@ 39 thanks for the clarity... agree with you... your thoughts on 'left' as well as the goal of balkanization of Syria

@ 40 yes, I think most of what Counterpunch publishes is leftist thinking

Posted by: crone | Sep 9, 2013 4:25:17 PM | 43

@32 She's trying to hit the ball back.....wonder what she really thinks?

"Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday it would be an "important step" if Syria immediately surrendered its chemical weapons stockpiles to international control.

"But this cannot be another excuse for delay or obstruction. And Russia has to support the international community's efforts sincerely or be held to account," she said."

Posted by: dh | Sep 9, 2013 4:36:42 PM | 44

Assad is opening the road that lead to Iraq and Lybia.He is also renouncing the principle of sovereignty of Syria and emboldens the criminals in Tel Aviv washington and Europe.Next they will ask for more..and more till the complete disintegration of the state in small entities as the West dreamed to have since the beginning of the 20th century.
Alarmed and disgusted because he was till now on the right side of History

Posted by: Nobody | Sep 9, 2013 4:49:41 PM | 45

Daily Telegraph

20.08 (15.08) If you want a sense of how chaotic things are in Washington, how mixed the administration's messages are, then consider this: three hours ago the State Department was saying Kerry was being rhetorical when he raised the fanciful idea Syria could disarm. But two hours later Clinton is treating it as a serious proposal and saying it was "suggested by Secretary Kerry and the Russians".

20.00 (15.00) Hillary made a point of saying she had met with Obama moments before speaking to the public

Posted by: somebody | Sep 9, 2013 4:59:33 PM | 46

nobody 45

down the road yes that is possible but up until this morning he was facing getting a pounding (which may or may not have done much damage to the SAA but would have severely damaged Syria's infrastructure) via the US air force, now he can off load some stuff that wasn't particular useful tactically, and look good doing it while stripping DC of any Humanitarian credentials if the continue to threaten an attack or supply weapons.

Posted by: heath | Sep 9, 2013 5:07:56 PM | 47

45) It will be done via UN/security council. Lots of ways to get Israel and Egypt to comply, too.
It is a chance for disarmament for the region and might pave the way for an agreement on nuclear issues.
It is silly to have an arms race between tiny states, people are paying for what?

Posted by: somebody | Sep 9, 2013 5:09:52 PM | 48

Ghouta: who done it?

apart from the crime of training insurgents to attack a sovereign state, this may indicate US death squad was involved in Ghouta
=======================================================================================


Why is Obama Changing the Date and Size of First CIA Death Squads to Enter Syria?
Posted on September 4, 2013 by Jim White
There is a very interesting point thrown in as a small tidbit in Monday’s New York Times story on Barack Obama securing the support of John McCain for a military strike on Syria:
Officials said that in the same conversation, which included Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican, Mr. Obama indicated that a covert effort by the United States to arm and train Syrian rebels was beginning to yield results: the first 50-man cell of fighters, who have been trained by the C.I.A., was beginning to sneak into Syria.
Taken at face value, this version of the story would have us believe that the first group of 50 trained by the CIA was presumably still in the process of “sneaking” into Syria on Monday. But the timeline of US training for these fighters is much more complex than that. Some foul-mouthed blogger noted back in May that this training program had already been underway for some time and the LA Times caught up with her in June, disclosing that the program began at least as far back as November 2012 on US bases in Jordan and Turkey.
The LA Times article details that the training is carried out by both special operations troops and CIA personnel. That would put this program squarely within the US tradition of training and releasing death squads that seem to be as adept at killing innocent civilians as they are at killing military targets. We have seen details of their operation in Iraq and Afghanistan under David Petraeus’ vaunted COIN program. There is no information in the LA Times article regarding the death squads entering Syria at that time. Reading between the lines of the article suggests that the squads were in a holding pattern at that point, awaiting better weapons from the US.
In direct contradiction to Obama’s Monday statement to McCain and Graham on the timing of the entry of the first US-trained death squads into Syria, we have this report from the Jerusalem Post that quotes a story first reported in Le Figaro:
The first group of 300 handpicked Free Syrian Army soldiers crossed the border on August 17 into the Deraa region, and a second group was deployed on August 19, the paper reported.
The paper quoted a researcher at the French Institute for Strategic Analysis as saying the trained rebels group was passing through Ghouta, on their way to Damascus.
Okay, now this gets interesting. Obama claimed only the first group of 50 were entering, while Le Figaro claimed there were two groups, with the first one being 300 and the second one not specified by size. Further, note the dates and location: they entered on August 17 and 19 and they passed through Ghouta. The large number of deaths from a suspected chemical warfare agent occurred on August 21 in Ghouta. In fact, the second paragraph of the Jerusalem Post article notes:
Le Figaro reported that this is the reason behind the Assad regime’s alleged chemical weapons attack in Damascus on Wednesday morning, as UN inspectors were allowed into the country to investigate allegations of WMD use.
Were these first groups of CIA-trained death squad members the target of the attack? Or could it be even worse than that? Vladimir Putin had some very interesting things to say in a wide-ranging interview today, but this bit stands out in relation to the death squad story:
“If it is determined that these rebels used weapons of mass destruction, what will the United States do with the rebels?” Mr. Putin asked. “What will the sponsors of the rebels do? Stop the supply of arms? Will they start fighting against the rebels?”
Whether they were the targets of an attack by Assad’s forces or whether they were the agents carrying out a false flag attack, US-trained death squads could well be at the center of the disputed use of chemical weapons. That would seem to be both a strong incentive and a huge tell for Obama to change both the date and the size of the entry of the first of these agents trained by the US. After all, even while reporting Obama’s leak to McCain and Graham on Monday, the New York Times noted that the training program is covert.
Except that it’s not just the US training them. Going back to the Jerusalem Post article:
The rebels were trained for several months in a training camp on the Jordanian-Syrian border by CIA operatives, as well as Jordanian and Israeli commandos, the paper said.
Oh my. That’s quite the international faculty for this training program. What new wonders await us as more graduates of the program pour into Syria?

http://www.emptywheel.net/2013/09/04/why-is-obama-changing-the-date-and-size-of-first-cia-death-squads-to-enter-syria/

Posted by: brian | Sep 9, 2013 5:39:04 PM | 49

@12: just caught susan(condi)rices' act on cspan(yet another propaganda arm)...she's calling for a "negotiated" surrender of
President Assad...it's not about CW's, it's about regime change...
always has been.

Posted by: bfrakes | Sep 9, 2013 1:39:51 PM | 18


yse the zionists really hate Assad, theyd prefer someone more pliable: hence the double ass whipping AIPAC is giving to its servants

Posted by: brian | Sep 9, 2013 5:47:33 PM | 50

sniff.

Here's what good little boys in Syria do when they're not being gassed. (comments are funny, this propaganda is effing terrible.)

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 5:48:05 PM | 51

ignored is the RATS have CW : how wil US and the axis of weevils secure THEIR CW? or would they use THAT as an excuse to attack syria?

Posted by: brian | Sep 9, 2013 6:12:51 PM | 52

american war contractor involvement in gas attacks

http://robinwestenra.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/american-involvement-in-syria-gas.html?spref=fb&m=1

Posted by: brian | Sep 9, 2013 6:14:02 PM | 53

@48 somebody,
why strip small states like Syria(the size of France by the way)of the only real deterrent they possess in the face of constant annihilation by "Israel" one of the world champions regarding all possible wmd?I am afraid the day the west will consent to stripping his last colony or" the cheapest carrier we have on land"to quote Biden of these horrible possessions ,world war 3 will have happened,Zion will have disappeared but we might not be around to enjoy on this earth the dignity and justice we are all longing to have.....

Posted by: Nobody | Sep 9, 2013 6:18:57 PM | 54

getting a rise out of the israeli media:

Unconfirmed report by Arab-language Russian newspaper claims 'armed Syrian militants will use territories controlled by the Syrian regime to perpetrate their provocative plan'

Arabic-language Russian news site Rusiya Al-Yaum has reported that Syrian rebels are planning a chemical attack on Israel.

In the report, it was claimed that "armed Syrian militants will use territories controlled by the Syrian regime to perpetrate their provocative plan."
The story was quick to spread through pro-Assad outlets, like the Hezbollah affiliated Lebanese stations Al Manar and Al Mayadeen. The Russian site is also known for its pro-Assad bias in covering the Syrian crises, what suggests that there is a possibility the story might propaganda
In the past, the Syrian regime and its mouth-pieces have claimed that the rebels are responsible for the chemical weapons usage – a claim that has now become part of their line of defense against the West. A few days after the chemical attack in question, the official state Syrian TV published a report in which Syrian soldiers allegedly suffered chemical related symptoms after entering a rebel position, where they found chemical materials related to the attack.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov suggested Monday that Syria place its "chemical weapons under international control and then have them destroyed,” if such a move would help "avoid military strikes" that are being considered by the United States and its allies. Lavrov said he had already passed the proposal to al-Moallem in Moscow and hoped for a "quick and positive answer" from Syria

Syria welcomed the Russian proposal, as al-Moallem praised the Kremlin for seeking to "prevent American aggression".

Al-Moallem who spoke to reporters through an interpreter after Russia expressed hope the proposal could avert military strikes against Syria, stopped short of saying explicitly that President Bashar Assad's government accepted it.

"I state that the Syrian Arab Republic welcomes the Russian initiative, motivated by the Syrian leadership's concern for the lives of our citizens and the security of our country, and also motivated by our confidence in the wisdom of the Russian leadership, which is attempting to prevent American aggression against our people," he said.

Israeli President Shimon Peres commented on the compromise, saying: "The Syrians have promised that they are not trustworthy and their integrity cannot be counted on," Peres said at an event, adding that the Russian inititative requires negotiation.
A senior Israeli official commented on the international bid to remove chemical weapons from Syria, saying "this is the best solution also for Israel. Everyone is now playing their own game, but everyone's interest, including Israel's, is to destroy Assad's chemical stockpiles without going to war."

General Salim Idris, head of the Free Syrian Army, dismissively responded to the Russian initiative, saying; "The (Syrian) regime has a massive arsenal, the size and location of which is unknown." According to him, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem welcomed the initiative only in a bid to postpone the American strike.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4427731,00.html


(NOTE: Israel wuold NEVE use propaganda!)

Posted by: brian | Sep 9, 2013 6:28:50 PM | 55

@27 Gareth Porter's claim that the declassified "government assessment" was a document cobbled together by the White House and is in no way an "intelligence community assessment" is right on the money.

However, he statement that "no one in either chamber has yet challenged the administration’s characterisation of the intelligence" is a bit harsh, since that requires them to talk about what is in the classified document which, obviously, he or she can not do.

Everyone should read this op-ed by Congressman Alan Grayson (Dem):
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/07/opinion/on-syria-vote-trust-but-verify.html?_r=1&

The money shot: "The first enumerates only the evidence in favor of an attack. I’m not allowed to tell you what’s in the classified summary, but you can draw your own conclusion."

It's pretty obvious from the above that Grayson has noticed the same thing as Porter i.e. there is a huge disparity between what the classified document says and what the public, unclassified assessment is asserting.

But he can't say that out loud because, you know, it's a classified document.

Note also this comment from Grayson: "On Thursday I asked the House Intelligence Committee staff whether there was any other documentation available, classified or unclassified. Their answer was 'no.' "

Grayson is telling us that the classified document he read is the One True "intelligence community assessment", and that the unclassified document that has been released by the Obama Administration is the One True "Government Assessment".

Which is a very important point indeed, because if there are major discrepancies between the two (rather than the latter being merely a redacted version of the former) then the Obama Administration is knowingly and willingly l.y.i.n.g. to the American public.

There isn't much doubt from reading Grayson's op-ed that this is exactly what he believes is happening.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 9, 2013 6:30:57 PM | 56

I don't agree at all with the take of 'b' on Lavrov's and Moallem's latest announcement. Implementing it to the US's satisfaction would involve seriously infringing on Syria's sovereignty. It would involve international inspectors inspecting all kinds of military facilities in Syria, year after year. It'd be as bad or worse as what's done in Iran nowadays, or what was being done in Iraq before the US bombed Iraq. In the absence of such "verifiability", the enemies of Syria wouldn't consent. An initiative by Syria, without sovereignty-infringing verifiability and international supervision, wouldn't be considered by the enemies of Syria to be honest. The presence of such "verifiability" should be utterly unacceptable to Syria, and I pray and trust the Syrians would never consent to it. As for the chemical weapons themselves, they actually are of little power or value in this day and age, but nevertheless they still do represent some deterrent to an invading army of groundforces.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 6:31:09 PM | 57

Of greater importance in today's news: new USA public opinion polls show Americans' opposition to a U.S. military strike against Syria is increasing. See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/09/09/us-syria-crisis-poll-idUSBRE9880YJ20130909 . Points coming out of the new Reuters/Ipsos poll, which was conducted from Sept 5 to Sept 9:

(1) Only 16 percent of Americans surveyed said the United States should get involved in Syria - down from 20 percent for the same poll question asked in the few days ending on August 30. When asked to suppose that it's proven that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops used chemical weapons, only 26 percent of Americans said the United States should intervene.

(2) The poll conducted September 5 to 9 returned that 63 percent of Americans are opposed intervening in Syria, up from 53 percent in the poll that ended August 30. When asked to suppose that it's proven that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops used chemical weapons, 52 percent said the U.S. military should not get involved in such a circumstance, up from 44 percent on August 30.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 6:31:28 PM | 58

At #58 I quoted today's Reuters/Ipsos poll. Another USA public opinion poll was published today by PEW Research (which I believe is administered by Gallup). See http://www.people-press.org/2013/09/09/opposition-to-syrian-airstrikes-surges/ The PEW's results are very similar to the Reuters'.

Looking at the PEW poll conducted 4 Sep - 8 Sep and comparing it with the PEW poll conducted 29 Aug - 1 Sep: "The share of Americans who oppose U.S. airstrikes in Syria has surged 15 points, from 48% to 63%, as many who were undecided about the issue have turned against military action." See the graph at http://www.people-press.org/2013/09/09/opposition-to-syrian-airstrikes-surges/


Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 7:07:01 PM | 59

Senate vote delayed over Russia.

Obama claiming credit for Russian deal.

In an interview to PBS Newshour on Monday, President Barack Obama told the audience that he discussed a potential diplomatic solution and a plan for Damascus to turn over its chemical weapons with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

"I did have those conversations. And this is a continuation of conversations I've had with President Putin for quite some time," Obama said during one of six interviews that he gave to major American news networks.

Nice, so it was all 35-dimensional chess and NOT a bunch of criminal war-mongers flailing about, huh? Bull.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 7:11:53 PM | 60

Extremely bad move (for Syria) on Lavrov's part. What's the fool playing at?

What right does he even have to suggest such an offer? Is he just kicking the can further down the road or what?

For one thing, It keeps the subject of CW front and centre, exactly where it should not be. As if the issue had any real validity.

And as someone else said: major violation of Syrian sovereignty.

Can easily be spun as if they are admitting some guilt on the matter.

Syrian CW are none of UZrael's business.
Maybe a paranoid squinting hard enough could almost glimpse some
Pre-arranged,choreography, Jackass makes a "slip" - Lavrov seizes what he thinks is an winning strategy? Is he that easy to fool?

I thought he was supposed to be playing chess or something.

Why would the Syrians sign on? Other than the obvious. Seriously short term

Posted by: hmm | Sep 9, 2013 7:11:57 PM | 61

Another new USA public opinion poll released today, this one sponsored by CNN, has similar results to the ones I mentioned earlier, though asks the questions a little differently: http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2013/images/09/09/6a.poll.syria.pdf

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 7:18:34 PM | 62

Maybe a smart move for Russia, because it increases its role in the "international community", and also increases Syria's dependence, but it's bad news for Syria. Unfortunately Assad simply can't afford to a Russian proposal while the Us is preparing for aggression.

I think we can foresee how it will play out.

- Obama will obtain the full powers he wil ask for so that it can "oversee" the disarming process of Assad and promptly "punish" any "delay" or show of "bad faith".
- the Us will use the occasion to send spies into the state entities and government-controlled territory of Syria; it will demand access to any information regarding the Syrian army's logistics, etc; will demand intrusive inspections over the whole territory and state buildings; it will have the chance to directly engage hundreds of Syrian officials, etc;
- if at any point Syria protests, the Us will bomb; otherwise, at the end of the process, Syria will anyways be ready for regime change

At any moment the Us will be able to interrupts the process, blaming Syria; and Russia won't be able to do anything about it.

So maybe it is a move a little too smart, in a situation which requires instead courage and principle - which isn't, the latter, Putin's forte; and maybe also the former. We'll see. We are all waiting to be pleasantly surprised by Putin.

Posted by: claudio | Sep 9, 2013 7:35:55 PM | 63

From my reading of http://sana.sy/eng/22/2013/09/09/501574.htm , I gather the Syrian government is now willing to enter into some sort of surrender of its chemical weapons under the supervision of the UNSC. As someone said at #61 "It keeps the subject of CW front and centre, exactly where it should NOT be." And as someone else said at #63, if and when negotiations with the Americans break down over the implementation details, it provides a basis for the Americans to monger war and make war.

I fully agree with Claudio #63: it's bad for Syria. Why is the Syrian government entertaining it? Because, over the past two years, the Syrian foreign ministry has been a slave to whatever the Russians think is as good idea. Moallem and Assad have proved themselves more slavish than the Jordanian foreign ministry is slavish to the British and Americans (I mean the Jordanian foreign ministry has displayed more independence these last two years than the Syrian foreign ministry has). In Spring 2012 the Syrian government agreed to withdraw its security forces from populated areas because the Russians thought this was a good idea at the time. It was a bad idea, and the Syrians knew it, but they wanted to keep the Russians happy at all costs. It exacerbated the security breakdown in Syria and allowed the armed rebels to comfortably get organized. (It was a bad idea, but at the time the Syrian government was also overly confident that government forces would be able to re-establish security without too much difficulty after the Annan agreement expired. So subservience to the Russians wasn't their only error.)

So the question is, why do the Russians think it's a good idea at this time? Personally I fail to see any merits for the Russians either. Has Lavrov seen the USA public opinion polls? It is inconceivable that the Americans would bomb Syria without Congressional authorization under the current climate of USA public opinion, and it is clear that Congressional authorization is not going to happen.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 8:05:45 PM | 64

Regardless of the Kabuki, I agree with bfrakes @ 18, in time, regime change is the end game, and it WILL happen. Have to admit, love to see Obama et al, suffering this huge black-eye in public opinion. Following the corporate agenda ain't always easy.

Posted by: ben | Sep 9, 2013 8:52:25 PM | 65

I can't believe how much people here think this proposal is a bad move.

Some of the main arguments against it seem to be:

Parviziyi's Sovereignty argument - "Implementing it to the US's satisfaction would involve seriously infringing on Syria's sovereignty." True, but you know what would infringe Syria's sovereignty more? A bombing campaign. On Syria there should be one goal, to defeat the FSA and win the war. I'd rather Assad deal with a few inspectors than the US Air Force.

Nobody's Iraq-Libya argument - "Assad is opening the road that lead to Iraq and Lybia." The thinking here being that since Saddam and Gaddafi renounced there stockpiles they were both then attacked and removed. However this move is being done to neutralise a regime change op. Not to encourage one (like Iraqs WMD hype) or to become a weak ally (like Libya after 9-11).

The deterrence argument - "Why strip small states like Syria (the size of France by the way) of the only real deterrent they possess in the face of constant annihilation by "Israel"". Chemical Weapons are not a deterrent. They have very little battlefield use, you need to produce huge amounts to be effective, can't be used over large areas because of dispersal, and there is a good chance that wind could blow the gas back on your own troops.

Syria's deterrent towards Israel is not its CW's, its the 250,000 man army and population 6 times the size of Israel. And while Syria might be "only" the size of France, Israel is the size of New Jersey.

Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Sep 9, 2013 8:53:34 PM | 66

I'm a big fan of Sergey Lavrov. I've read many of his long speeches and interviews because I enjoy and learn from them. His recent one dated 2 Sep 2013 is a choice example: http://www.mid.ru/bdomp/brp_4.nsf/e78a48070f128a7b43256999005bcbb3/6885eb7f9bb5124844257bdc00581652!OpenDocument . Today I don't know what Sergey is thinking when he declares: "We are calling on the Syrian authorities to agree on putting chemical weapons storages under international control." As I ruminate on it, the only way it could make sense, with my current information, is that the Russians think it's possible the Syrian security forces are no longer assuredly competent to maintain secure control over the chemical weapons stores, i.e. the weapons are at risk of falling into the hands of the rebels. The weapons are useless to the Syrian government's forces against the rebels. By putting the weapons under international security, it would relieve the Syrian security forces of the burden of protecting them from the rebels, and free up some forces to fight the rebels.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 8:58:59 PM | 67

Perhaps it's a move to bring the whole issue back into the UNSC?

Posted by: Dr. Wellington Yueh | Sep 9, 2013 9:08:30 PM | 68

I'm beginning to think it's maybe not a bad move. It depends on what's meant by "putting chemical weapons storages under international control". If it potentially involves any sovereignty-infringing "verifiability" conditions, it's a bad, bad BAD move. (And that's implicitly asserting that commenter Colm O'Toole #66 is wrongheaded and misinformed). But if it's just a handover of the responsibility of keeping the weapons secure against capture by the rebels and terrorists, then it's not a truly bad move and it's not a big deal.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 9:11:59 PM | 69

@69

I think it's too early to tell. However, if one looks at the various - sometimes conflicting - statements various US officials have put out - just look at Kerry's contradiction over the last few hours/days - maybe the Russians were tiring of playing "focus group" to the machinations of the Zionist US puppets and decided to "shake it up" a bit. Limited war, regime change, itty-bitty war, aircraft carriers, Israeli missile tests, I mean the US has been throwing lots of crap out there - anything and everything - and this is an increasingly dangerous situation - one ripe - as the above RT article pointed to - for yet another false flag or even a true accident. There's still miles to go towards any tangible solution but at least it tempers the situation a bit. Plus, Putin realizes that every day not fighting is a day Obama is seeing his poll numbers on this issue tank. So why not 1) cool everyone's jets 2) allow American opposition to strikes increase and 3) watch Obama and friends humiliate themselves walking back all their blather. Sure, maybe Lavrov erred but we don't know any details of what he was thinking - as you note - of what "international control" might mean.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 9, 2013 9:30:52 PM | 70

@ JSorrentine : Agreed.

Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 9:40:49 PM | 71

Moallem and Assad have proved themselves more slavish than the Jordanian foreign ministry is slavish to the British and Americans (I mean the Jordanian foreign ministry has displayed more independence these last two years than the Syrian foreign ministry has). In Spring 2012 the Syrian government agreed to withdraw its security forces from populated areas because the Russians thought this was a good idea at the time. It was a bad idea, and the Syrians knew it, but they wanted to keep the Russians happy at all costs. It exacerbated the security breakdown in Syria and allowed the armed rebels to comfortably get organized.etc
Posted by: Parviziyi | Sep 9, 2013 8:05:45 PM | 64

whatever are u smoking? US regime would bomb there own grandmothers if AIPAC ordered them to...but the idea Assad is a servant of Russia means u need to read some of HIS speeches and interviews! Like Putin, he is a nationalist first last and always

as for Jordan guess who THEY are harboring? it was from jordan US death squads entered syria and passed thru G-H-O-U-T-A... jordan FM independence!!!!!! LOLOLOL

Posted by: brian | Sep 9, 2013 9:51:10 PM | 72

@66 Agreed.

The first step would certainly involve Syria signing onto the Chemical Weapons Convention.

Doing so is, of course, an "infringement on sovereignty" but, then again, signing any treaty involves the state AGREEING to surrender some of its "sovereign rights" in favour of The Greater Good.

And signing the CWC brings into play verification and inspection agreements with the multinational Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Again, no surprises there: EVERY signatory to the CWC has to negotiate an agreement with the OPCW.

The only wrinkle here is that Syria is in the middle of a civil war, and so "the West" will insist (correctly) that there be some mechanism in place whereby the existing stockpiles are secured while the OPCW negotiates the terms and mechanism for the safe disposal of those weapons.

Okay. Sure. Good point. Glad you asked. Assad can then "allow" Russia and China to send troops to secure those CWs stockpiles while the Syrians gets on with the business of signing agreements with the OPCW.

From Assad's point of view that will be a good result i.e. in return for giving up weapons that he can't really use he will get Russian and Chinese boots on the ground, with all the immunity from USAF bombing that this entails.

And, heck, if those Russians and Chinese soldiers have to squish a few rebel forces along the way then, gosh, all the better.......

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 9, 2013 10:04:12 PM | 73

Latest from Penny on Syria:

http://pennyforyourthoughts2.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ben | Sep 9, 2013 10:09:01 PM | 74

This is a great move by the Russians and Syria. Assad is still in power, the army is still in one piece. KSA's machinations are foiled.

Chemical weapons cant be used in false flag attacks because it wont be believable.

And much less important than the avoiding active US involvement in death and destruction, I am also glad that Obama doesnt have to put the country through a constitutional crisis.

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 9, 2013 10:10:24 PM | 75

Rather than saying "Assad is still in power" I should have said "the terrorists havent won"

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 9, 2013 10:12:40 PM | 76

We must not forget that there is a "war" in different levels; Syria being just one, albeit a rather physical level.

Another level, and an ugly root for many problems, is a UN administration that is biased pro western against its own majority. (Just remember that japanese iaea whore doing zusas work against Iran).
It is this UN and international level on which zusa managed to arrange for UN, zato, "the coalition of the willing", etc. to be more or less variation of one and the same thing with little more that Russia and China using their veto power standing against it.

Russia engaging on that international level and doing so very well and intelligently is extremely valuable, even more valuable than troups or ships or missiles for Syria. With Russia and China gaining more weight and stronger including other groups like NAM or "the coalition of the opposed to yet another wanton war by zusa", the fukuz terrorist gang gets weaker; *this* is a war, too, and an important one in which Russia and others increasingly win and fukuz loses.

The work of Russia, China and others (BRIC, NAM, SCO, ...) where their "knights", lead by the brilliant S. Lavrov, fight against the dark "knights", officially led by obama and kerry/kohn with netanyhu and other serial criminalsin the control room, and change the world balance in a major way.
Lavrov's quick reaction proposal is on this level what on the physical level a nuclear bomb on zusa's east cost would be. The message is clear: "fukuz wanted to start war over something that can evidently be settled by diplomacy".

But Lavrov move might prove very smart and useful on the military level, too. With international Russia and Chinese nspectors on the ground, those inspectors couldn't help but notice fights, attacks and war acts, too; in other words, the fukuz terrorist cells would be severely limited in their actions and value. Furthermore, there might be a need to transport material or teams between CW sites and those transports might just happen to run through terrorist areas. One shot by terrorists (which can bet taken as guaranteed because fukuz control over the terrorists is limited) against or just near an international team and Russia would be asked to kindly provide for protection teams (Spetznaz).

As for the CWs, I don't worry that much. They always had the disadvantage of being seen as inhumane, bringing the public opinion up against those who use them and furthermore, CW are strongly limited by the carriers (no matter the kind) to bring them to the target. Russia has more than enough "clean" weapons that can make short work of vital points in israel.

Lavrov is to be praised. Once more he demonstrated that zusa is a bunch of malevolent retards greedy for war, no matter the "reasons". And he has demonstrated that zusa's days as the bully controlling the block are over.

Frankly, I for one *wish* zusa to be aggressive retarded enough to go to war anyway. But then, I'm more on the pragmatic side where Mr. Lavrov is more on the well mannered checkers master side who enjoys elegance. So I end with the question "Can a zusa carrier group sink elegantly?"


Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 9, 2013 10:22:04 PM | 77

@77 Mr Pragma

Frankly, I for one *wish* zusa to be aggressive retarded enough to go to war anyway.

Why on earth would you say that?

Posted by: ess emm | Sep 9, 2013 10:35:40 PM | 78

ess emm (78)

For one because a criminal regime will not let go power, no matter what. Proof: zusa *is* broken, yet it looks for war.
Of course, one can continue to weaken zusa but: Are we willing to wait for an infested aggressive dog to one day just sleep away? Every year zusa manages to continue its fake is a year it drains blood from other nation and attacks some of them. And don't forget that zusa is but an expendable golem for their masters who will use that golem against the world as long as their is some "life" left in it.

That's why. Russia, China, Iran and others *have* the power to force zusa to their knees. The sooner they do it the less long this world has to suffer.


Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 9, 2013 10:46:48 PM | 79

Mr Pragma is right. But there is much more to this proposed deal than the US has so far told us.

Clearly the open support of the "rebels" has to end. The chance that they have been using CW's is very high. The Syrian government must and will insist that all forces in the country come under the same regimen. The idea of continuing to allow weapons and men to be passed over the borders of Turkey, Jordan, Israel and Lebanon, without inspection and with the assistance of the western warmongers and their fat friends from the Gulf, can no longer be countenanced. The logic of this deal leads to a Geneva Conference which is what the "rebels" have been refusing for years.

Giving the UN control over the CW stock can only be part of a deal which recognises the UN's importance-something that the US has been downplaying throughout this crisis. It must be part of a truce during which inspections can take place unimpeded by US or "rebel" sabotage.

Parvizi need not worry about Syria's sovereignty: it is more firmly established now than it has been for years.

As to a deal being a confession of guilt, Hmmm's contribution de jour, that is rubbish. The minute investigation of the "massacre" will now proceed at a proper pace. So will the investigation of the 500 missing villagers. The US case will be torn apart publicly at leisure. It never was strong it will dissolve now.

This is a tremendous defeat for the United States, superbly managed by the Resistance and the Russia-China axis. It leaves Obama with a "triumph" to present to his constituency. It is a massive kick in AIPAC's groin and it puts the Arab tyrants on notice that Syria, together with Iraq are not going to grin and bear any more of Prince Bandar's games.

Everything has changed, friends and hasbarista, let the fascists take shelter.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9, 2013 10:50:55 PM | 80

Helena Cobban is blogging again. Today's piece is very good, very Helena and worth reading even by those hard men who eat pacifists for breakfast, in their dreams anyway/.
http://justworldnews.org/

Posted by: bevin | Sep 9, 2013 11:10:21 PM | 81

They does appear to be some misunderstanding here regarding what the Russians are proposing.

They AREN'T proposing any ad-hoc UN-style "inspection regime". That's totally unnecessary, since a formal international organization already exists for that: the OPCW.

So all that would be required for *that* is Assad's signature on the CWC treaty, and when that happens then the OPCW steps in, as the treaty itself says they will.

No. Lavrov is talking about SECURING those cw stockpiles while Syria and the OPCW negotiates the disposal of those weapons.

So who will secure those stockpiles?

And: whoever Assad agrees to, which will be limited to.... Russia, China, and possibly Iran.

It's his choice, since these are his weapons.

That's why this will be such a stunning development: Russian boots on the ground in the M.E.

Remind me again of the last time that happened?

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 9, 2013 11:47:52 PM | 82

@ 40 yes, I think most of what Counterpunch publishes is leftist thinking. Posted by: crone | Sep 9, 2013 4:25:17 PM | 43
'Leftist' is a very vague word, but I would classify Counterpunch as degenerated trotskyites with a particular partiality for Jewish issues, environmental issues and lifestyle issues, a mix calculated to blunt and fragment any would-be coherent left movement before it starts. Currently WSWS seems much more serious to me.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Sep 9, 2013 11:48:31 PM | 83

This is too big of a gaffe to take place at this level. Obama was under too much of a pressure from the killing industry, the israelis and most of all the saudis who actually were willing to pay for all of this (as stated by Kerry in the senate).

Obama and Putin may have pulled this off together. Just wait and see. This is a win-win situation for both. As obama was sure to get into a very difficult political situation at home if he had gone for a very unpopular war. irrespective of what the senate/congress voted. extremist republicans would have gone for an impeachment like kill in the aftermath. that is what i was betting on.

saudis will surely be very sore after this. but who gives a fuck for them! :)

Posted by: RT this | Sep 10, 2013 12:32:25 AM | 84

82) Yep they are back. They did have boots in Syria though already. Actually it is in Assad's interest to have some Western observers on the stock piles. I do think this was false flag - and some people might want to repeat it. He has got the deterrence he needs against Israel anyway.

84) I agree. This was negotiated in the background.

79) How could a fascist regime have its people refuse to go to war? You sound like a stuck record, Mr. Pragma. The US is a democracy, when people care enough about an issue they get their will. This process of saying no to war could not have been done in any dictatorial regime.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10, 2013 12:55:09 AM | 85

@85 Sure, there will be some Western observers. The OPCW is tasked by the treaty with "observing", and that organization will have any number of staff from "western" countries.

But the "observers" are wonks, and so they will be very different from the guys who will be "securing" the stockpile.

THOSE guys will be soldiers, because it will be their job to shoot anyone who tries to grab those stockpiles.

And there will be only two places where THOSE guys can come from:
a) Russia (maybe even *gasp* Iran, tho' that's probably rubbing too much salt into Obama's wound).
b) Some ineffectual Blue Helmets.

The UN won't be interested in putting Blue Helmets into the middle of a civil war, so without a general ceasefire then that ain't gonna' happen.

Russia, however, might.....

There isn't going to be much the USA can do about that. Assad will have to agree to the deployment of foreign troops on his soil, and it is axiomatic that he will not agree to anyone except the Russians.

And *if* this leads to Russian boots on the ground then how does Saudi Arabia react?

Do they order their rebels to attack Russian troops, or does Prince Bandar throw in his cards and walk away?

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 10, 2013 1:32:31 AM | 86

When I heard Lavrov's CW offer (via BBC) I had a quiet chuckle.
It's only a few days since BBC was posing the question "What can the most corrupt nation in the G20 bring to the Syria dispute?"
Now they know - wisdom, commonsense and logic (unlike the dumbass Yankees).

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Sep 10, 2013 1:53:24 AM | 87

To the saudis: "You cant have your war and fight it too!" haha

So what are the saudis likely to do? first of all they don't have enough shit up their ass to be able to directly take on the ruskies. so they may run around shitless for a while or increase the level of salafists funding generally. but then very soon new events in the whirlpool that is the middle east are likely to over take them...

Posted by: RT this | Sep 10, 2013 2:22:28 AM | 88

Well the oxymoronic pacifist anti-imperialists are on board anyway.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10, 2013 2:27:51 AM | 89

89) Nah, it is not an oxymoron, it depends on where you live. An anti-imperialist living in an imperialist country = pacifist. An anti imperialist living in a colonized country is not a pacifist but a terrorist/freedom fighter. And an imperialist living in a colonized country is a rebel.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10, 2013 2:37:23 AM | 90

The day Obama is recording 5 major interviews that are meant to teach his sheeply people how it's not so bad to go to war, after all, and important, too.
Now Lavrov takes up this quote and Obama, who surely had his pro-war narration nicely prepared, is forced to pick up this quote and offer, too. Nationwide, in all his pro-war-interviews.
Fuck me, that's genius!

Posted by: peter radiator | Sep 10, 2013 2:49:45 AM | 91

entertaining mini-lecture if nothing else. Will you be doing the rounds with that? Where can I get tickets? You could have a large backdrop with a stylised Ghandi photo + quote

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10, 2013 2:50:33 AM | 92

90) forgot activist. But of course, Russia is empire, too. So Syrians are fighting over their choice of patrons.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10, 2013 2:52:00 AM | 93

@somebody #85

This process of saying no to war could not have been done in any dictatorial regime
Consensus is equally important to rulers in a democracy and in a dictatorship; but they can get away with much more in a democracy, where they can ultimately blame "the people" for their decisions, than in dictatorship, where they have to assume responsibility for them

Posted by: claudio | Sep 10, 2013 2:56:47 AM | 94

yes, hard to do good stand-up without an activist in the mix

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10, 2013 2:57:34 AM | 95

Colm,

Don't worry about the insincere and paid. A few young folks don't know about politics or strategy, and can't see how this really puts Obama and Kerry in a horrible bind.

Mr. P.,

What do you think would happen if the US attacked from the Red Sea area? I wonder if Jordan and SA aren't a better target than Israel.

Posted by: Ozawa | Sep 10, 2013 3:08:01 AM | 96


From the horse's other mouth:

Obama 'could pause Syria attack plans'


US President Barack Obama has said he will put plans for a US military strike against Syria on hold if the country agrees to place its chemical weapons stockpile under international control.

In watching these games, a trend is more important than the news...

Posted by: RT this | Sep 10, 2013 3:13:34 AM | 97

94) Usually people resign to dictatorship because there is a threat of civil war that would be worse. As long as a society can regulate conflict without turning to civil war there is no need for dictatorship. To declare the United States fascist or a dictatorship you have to be ignorant of what fascism was or what dictatorship means. The US has a legacy of slavery, gangsterism and violent conflict but not close to interior civil war, the one they fought was a unification process.

A dictatorship is "responsible" in the sense that the chances of the dictator to die in his bed are approximately 50 percent. Main reason for that is that dictatorships rarely have the necessary consensus but a) need war to rally people around the flag, b)usually have to be brutally enforced inviting revenge.

Dictatorships need a critical amount of backers, that does not equal consensus. But you are right, when the critical amount of backers are no longer satisfied by their dictator he will be replaced.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10, 2013 3:35:28 AM | 98

“The intercepted communications suggested Assad, who is accused of war crimes by the west, including foreign secretary William Hague, was not himself involved in last month’s attack or in other instances when government forces have allegedly used chemical weapons.”

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/sep/08/syria-chemical-weapons-not-assad-bild

Belgian teacher and journalist kidnapped in Syria stated upon his release: “This is not Assad’s government who used sarin gas or any other combat gas in the Damascus area. We are sure about this after we accidently heard a conversation between rebels”.

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=209_1378766062

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 10, 2013 3:39:31 AM | 99

" If it potentially involves any sovereignty-infringing "verifiability" conditions, it's a bad, bad BAD move. "

How can it not?

Obviously it takes the immediate pressure off. Maybe that is all that is required.

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10, 2013 3:44:09 AM | 100

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