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 16:09 UTC | Permalink

Comments
« previous page

Evidence mounting that Assad did not order the chemical weapons attack, which begs the question: Was he set up?

http://news.firedoglake.com/2013/09/09/doubts-grow-that-assad-ordered-chemical-attack/

Posted by: kalithea | Sep 10 2013 7:49 utc | 101

Of course Syria wont give up its cw deterrence against Israel.The demand have no legal justification! Stupid by Russia to push this.

Also.

Ex-captives reveal militants' involvement in August 21 Syria chemical raid
http://presstv.com/detail/2013/09/10/323034/excaptives-reveal-rebels-role-in-cw-raid/

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 10 2013 7:50 utc | 102

@Johnboy | 73

"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."

West will never accept it, they even denied (through UN) Russia/China experts participating with CW inspectors. And you think they will allow Russia/China to safeguard CW? Fat chance.

How it will go - West will make absurd demands, like unlimited and unhindered inspections of everything and anything they want. All military bases and objects, everything. Something like it was in Iraq, nothing short of that will get US to agree. And yet it didnt change anything for the good, only for the worse for Iraq.

Syria naturally will decline West's demands, hence we back to square one, with US ready to bomb any day. They'll add additional point "Syria refused our generous offer to cooperate with UN about CW, and its another proof they have something to hide and have to be bombed immediately!"

The only positive possibility of all it, is a short breathing room for Syria while these fake negotiations goes on. In the long run there are no positives about it.

Posted by: Harry | Sep 10 2013 7:57 utc | 103

103) The West is not stupid. They really wanted to attack as obviously the reality on the ground has shifted against them. Strikes were meant to change that balance and to keep the fight going (drawing Iran, Hezbollah, Russia in and weakening them).
They really needed assurance though there would be no escalation as
a) at some stage of an actual war US congress would have to get involved
b) Israel's "homefront" cannot be protected from escalation (nor can Jordan, Turkey is presumably protected by NATO, but when NATO is drawn in anyway they are threatened too
c) Iran could block the Strait of Hormuz
They did not get this assurance. So that's it. Nobody is going to waste energy on an Iraq like process when the balance of power is clear. More so, now is the time to strike all kinds of agreements.

It will be interesting to watch Saudi Arabia. I think a lot of dirty secrets will get aired in the media the next few months.

Assad's interview with Charlie Rose is good. Syria's ruling class is very professional.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 8:23 utc | 104

It will be interesting to watch Saudi Arabia. I think a lot of dirty secrets will get aired in the media the next few months.

Probably. they do seem to feel the need to take the heat off of themselves. Certainly a good time for Harvey to cook up another Michael Moore documentary

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10 2013 8:36 utc | 105

harry

Exactly Syria will of course say no. This offer by Russia is really stupid, when the temperature for war declined and made obama look stupid, russians comes up with this stupid offer that pretty much saves obama. This offer will renew all the war threats that we just buried the past weeks!

In fact it will be MORE easier for US to bomb when its clear that Syria say "no" to this offer.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 10 2013 8:41 utc | 106

This here is Robert Parry - he knows his stuff:

Even as President Barack Obama lobbies Congress for a limited war resolution against Syria, some members of his national security team are hoping that the international crisis can be used to break the diplomatic impasse that has blocked Syrian peace talks, particularly by forcing the hand of Saudi Arabia.

This view holds that Saudi Arabia and particularly its intelligence chief, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, have emerged as the chief obstacles to a cease-fire and peace talks. Bandar, the well-connected former ambassador to the United States, is seen as the principal backer of the most radical Islamist fighters seeking to oust the Syrian government and unwilling to join negotiations. (Remember that Bandar has admitted meeting al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks — and after 9/11, he arranged the quick departure of bin Laden family members from the United States.)

So, the challenge has been how to pressure Bandar and the extravagantly wealthy Saudis into cooperation with a strategy of cutting off the weapons and money to these extreme jihadists, getting rebel negotiators to Geneva, and forging a power-sharing arrangement between the more moderate rebels and the Syrian government.

You might not know it from reading the mainstream US press, but Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has repeatedly agreed to participate in proposed Geneva peace talks and to consider a new governing structure. It is the US-backed opposition that has consistently refused to attend, laying down a series of preconditions.
...
The rebel leaders have offered a host of excuses why peace talks can’t start now: they want the US government to give them sophisticated weapons first; they want all Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon to withdraw; they want to be in a winning position before talks begin; they want Assad to agree to resign as a precondition of talks.

In other words, the fractious rebels, whose most effective fighters are allied with al-Qaeda, don’t want peace talks; they’d rather wait for the United States and other outside powers to be drawn into the civil war and ensure Assad’s ouster.

However, such an outcome also could make Syria the new hotbed for terrorism in the Middle East and open the door to genocide against Syria’s Alawite minority, adherents to a branch of Shia Islam who include the Assad family. Some Syrian Christians, allied with Assad, also fear violent reprisals if the Sunni-dominated rebels prevail, a particularly frightening thought for ethnic Armenians whose ancestors fled the Turkish genocide a century ago.

The real possibility of rebel-inflicted atrocities was underscored Thursday by the release of a video showing Syrian rebels executing captured Syrian soldiers, amid verbal threats to exterminate the Alawites. Russian President Vladimir Putin also has cited a video of a rebel commander eating the internal organs of a slain government soldier.

Wasting a Crisis

Though many of Obama’s “tough guy/gal” advisers still seem eager to launch missiles against Syrian government targets to punish Assad for an alleged poison gas attack on Aug. 21, at least a few aides still hope that the impending attack can be averted and the international urgency over the crisis can be turned instead toward promoting a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Such a move would represent a geopolitical version of former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s adage, “never let a serious crisis go to waste.” I’m told that Obama has recently sought out advisers beyond his inner circle regarding how this maneuver might be pulled off, after he found himself boxed in by his clumsy rhetoric about “red lines” and inattention to the worsening Syrian crisis earlier this year.
Despite the seemingly chilly contacts between Obama and Putin at the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, the two leaders are said to be acting in greater concert on this crisis than the mainstream US press understands. US-Russian cooperation is considered crucial to push aside the many obstacles to a negotiated outcome for Syria’s civil war.

The greatest difficulty in achieving a breakthrough on peace has been how to dislodge the obstructions of Saudi Arabia and Israel to Syrian negotiations. The Saudis and the Israelis, who have developed a de facto alliance on a range of regional issues from Egypt to Iran, see advantages in continuing the conflict in Syria.

While Saudi Arabia may dream of an outright rebel victory and a Sunni-ruled Syrian state – breaking the current “Shiite crescent” from Iran through Iraq and Syria to Hezbollah enclaves in Lebanon – the Israelis seem to prefer having Syria continue bleeding without a clear-cut victor.

As the New York Times reported Friday, “Mr. Obama’s limited strike proposal has one crucial foreign ally: Israel.” In the Israeli view, getting the US military to batter Assad’s forces would also put Iran on the defensive and might speed the day of an American attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Plus, a weakened Syria would not only mean that Iran is forced to divert more resources to saving Assad but that Lebanon’s pro-Assad Hezbollah also would be more distracted and Palestine’s Hamas more isolated. Hamas has sided with Sunni rebels fighting Assad and thus has estranged its former allies: Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

The odd-couple alliance of Israel and Saudi Arabia also has teamed up in support of Egypt’s military coup against the elected Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi. The Saudis have poured in billions of dollars to prop up Egypt’s economy as the Israelis have lobbied Washington to prevent a cutoff of US military aid to Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a Sunni movement, but it is too populist for the taste of the Saudi monarchists. The Saudi princes fear the spread of democracy in the region and far prefer an authoritarian regime in Egypt. Meanwhile, Israel benefits by having the Egyptian military again seal off the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza. All the better for Israel to dictate peace terms to a weakened Palestinian movement.
...
However, that depth of Saudi involvement also makes the task of shutting down Bandar’s operation all the more difficult. Indeed, Obama may have few levers to use against Bandar, other than arguments that a US military intervention in Syria could spin out of control, leading to disruptions of oil supplies and a global financial crisis. Given the vast stock portfolios of the Saudi royals, they could suffer heavy losses as they did during the Wall Street meltdown of 2008.

In that sense, what Obama has created in his timetable for bombing Syria is a kind of “doomsday machine,” a device that can cause severe damage to the geopolitical and economic stability of the world if it is not disarmed in time. Assuming that Obama gets congressional approval to start the machine ticking, the “doomsday” moment could come in the next few weeks.

That is, unless the Saudis and Bandar can be persuaded that their broader interests exceed any sectarian lust to inflict more pain on Iran and its allies in Syria.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 8:45 utc | 107

"Syria refused our generous offer to cooperate with UN about CW, and its another proof they have something to hide and have to be bombed immediately!"

Yes

Rather than sticking to "Show some evidence, ANY evidence" which didn't seem to be working too badly imo

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10 2013 8:54 utc | 108

Here is the full charlie rose/assad interview.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjXs5YOs3XQ

Such biased interview but Assad make good answers!

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 10 2013 9:01 utc | 109

Kerry sounded stunned by Lavrov's offer..Of course, when he blustered about Assad handing over his weapons, he didn't expect the Russians to make the offer. He assumed Syria will reject it and justify an attack. Now that Syria's hinted they might consider some form of international monitoring (modalities to be discussed later), Kerry's main argument for war's taken a hit.

Now the Russians can also propose Israel open up their nukes for international monitoring - of course it won't happen but you get ma drift??? This is a very slippery slope Kerry wished he hadn't even mentioned.


I'm now convinced US policy makers like to make foolish statements without reason. Much like O-bomber's stupid red-line rant that's got him into this mess in the first place.

Posted by: Zico | Sep 10 2013 9:15 utc | 110

Fox News is not stupid either - they just dumb it down to cheat the masses

not here - Obama give your Nobel Peace Prize back

Why do they do this?

a) they like bashing Obama
b) they smell a chance to poach in liberal media territory

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 9:15 utc | 111

Ozawa (96)

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.

Well, first there are geographic facts to consider. Basically all high value targets in Syria are west of a (quite straight) line from Aleppo over Homs to Damascus (continuing that line would lead roughly to eilat (israel)).

Looking at it strategically I'd say it doesn't make much sense for Syria to attack jordania (right away. In the long run it might be attractive to take out those friends of israel); jordania simply is too insignificant.
zaudi arabia, on the other hand, could hardly be attacked without going through israel or jordania anyway and one can doubt that Syria has the resources to control zaudi arabia. Furthermore, why attack zaudi arabia? It's much simpler to instigate and support upheaval and to throw the "governing" rats out; actually, this way Syria could even create a powerful friendship with the zaudi population.

Most importantly though, *the* enemy that is threatening, attacking and terrorizing Syria (like many others) is israel. Taking out the el shaddai (satan) worshipper "country" israel would work against the very root of all problems rather than against neglegible puppets like jordania.

The main reason keeping israels victims away from finally cleaning out the rat hole is, of course, zusa. So, a zusa attack on Syria would actually be yet another reason to not any longer hold back and to terminate israel. Sure enough the vast majority of Palestians and Hezbollah would gladly support that.
Some might be worried that zusa would immediately react to such an attack by escalating to a full war against israel. This must, however, not necessarily be the case. For one, israel is just "politically" important to zusa (because ... uhm ... well because israel says so) while zaudi arabia is vital to zusa; zaudi arabia (i.e. the regime) falling would basically translate to the zus$ losing its position as reserve currency. Second, such an attack on israel could be in the form of short but very heavy missile attacks destroying the vital infrastructure and mil. targets of israel, having Hezbollah following up with ground attacks against a crippled and shocked israel.


Ceterum censeo israel delendum esse.

Posted by: Mr. Pragma | Sep 10 2013 9:28 utc | 112

Intl experts have strong proof images of chemical victims fabricated – Moscow

http://rt.com/news/experts-un-syria-chemical-649/

We have the Dale Gavlak reports linking Saudia Arabia's Bandar supplying the chemical weapons to the FSA terrorists:

http://www.mintpressnews.com/witnesses-of-gas-attack-say-saudis-supplied-rebels-with-chemical-weapons/168135/

We have the evidence from Domenico Quiric about the FSA terrorists talking about being responisble for the chemical attack:

Chemical attack was rebel provocation, former captives say
http://rt.com/news/chemical-weapons-rebels-captives-632/

We have the Mother Agnes Mariam testimony of the FSA terrorists carried out the chemical attack:

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

I don't think the chemical weapons proposal is going anywhere. It served its purpose in derailing the last minute rush to war by the US.

Masterful work by the Russians and Syria. If they go for the 'all regional(Israel) WMDs under UN control' they will have pulled off one of the greatest diplomatic defeats in history.

The US,Israel,and the Gulf dictatorships are looking at a total loss.

Posted by: Blinn | Sep 10 2013 9:31 utc | 113

Qatar's employee of the week, Minibus Fabius, couldn't swallow it and hurried a resolution draft to be delivered today at the UN. It will link the CW control with a chapter 7 big stick.
http://www.lemonde.fr/proche-orient/article/2013/09/09/la-russie-appelle-damas-a-mettre-son-arsenal-chimique-sous-controle-international_3473722_3218.html
You've loved the Gauche caviar, you will start to appreciate the Gauche qatar...
They seem to buy Qatar's promesses of a big ME Peace plan with Israel. I wonder who else but bureaucrats who cannot even locate countries on maps and have never stepped a foot out of their luxury appartments and offices could believe such fairy-tales.

About the Left, Blair started killing it in the UK (paid?), the US one had been moribund for a while (if it ever existed), and France is now on board.

Posted by: Mina | Sep 10 2013 9:59 utc | 114


a good part of the american establishment has gotten very tired with the age old lug headed saudi tactics. lets see how this relationship goes.

Posted by: RT this | Sep 10 2013 10:05 utc | 115

115)The American University in Cairo
Is Saudi Arabia stable?
:-))

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 10:31 utc | 116

gigantic lol this morning with french paper Liberation

http://i.imgur.com/5T3aGOA.jpg

you read it right, the russian proposal becomes a "soviet offer", poor editorialist is so dissapointed he can't get his war he's resurrecting soviet union.

Posted by: zingaro | Sep 10 2013 10:50 utc | 117

@100 "How can it not?"

Well, yeah, but that's true of any treaty.

When you sign a treaty you are AGREEING to cede some of your sovereign rights.

That. Is. What. An. International. Treaty. Is.

So if Syria agrees to sign the CWC then - by definition - it will be agreeing to "sovereignty-infringing verifiability conditions", precisely because that is what the CWC is.

But note this: the mechanism for verification is already included in the text of the treaty itself i.e. that is carried out by the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which - unlike the IAEA - is not an overtly politicized body.

But also note that Lavrov is going beyond that: he is talking about the need to *secure* the sites pending the supervision of the OPCW.

That is going to require an ad-hoc arrangement, but it will be one that will be driven by the RUSSIANS themselves, precisely because while Assad might agree to having RUSSIAN troops on his soil he certainly isn't ever going to agree to AMERICAN troops on his soil.

It's a smart move. A very, very, very smart move.

Prince Bandar must be tearing his hair out, and AIPAC must be near to apoplexy.

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 10 2013 10:50 utc | 118

118) Could be there is some Russian/US "partner" complicity in this Jerusalem Post

Report: CIA believes Israel acquired chemical weapons decades ago Foreign Policy quotes CIA document that US satellites found a probable "nerve agent production facility and a storage facility" in the Negev, article says development is conducted at Israel Institute for Biological Research near Tel Aviv

....

The report comes as the United States government is currently seeking domestic and international consensus for truncated military action against the Syrian regime over its alleged recent use of chemical weapons on its own population.

Documents leakages will be fun the next few weeks

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 11:01 utc | 119

@118

it will certainly be wonderful if it all pans out like you imagine. let's hope you're right

Posted by: hmm | Sep 10 2013 11:14 utc | 120

@ somebody

thanks! a great read. :)

Posted by: RT this | Sep 10 2013 11:37 utc | 121

#Aggression is rewarded. #Putin chooses #appeasement. #Obama escapes the #gallows.

This may seem like a victory for Syria, but is in fact a gigantic defeat for the Resistance Axis. Israel's war aims have been achieved. Personally I am most disappointed by the fact that Obama now escapes the gallows for his criminal conspiracy to wage a war of aggression. The crime of the century – the cold-blooded murder of 500 Syrians to start World War III – will never be investigated.

Damascus agrees to cede chemical weapons to intl control – Syria FM – RT, September 10, 2013 11:09, Edited 12:19

Posted by: Petri Krohn | Sep 10 2013 12:23 utc | 122

@103: "West will never accept it, they even denied (through UN) Russia/China experts participating with CW inspectors. And you think they will allow Russia/China to safeguard CW? Fat chance."

Yeah, I can just picture Obama standing up and declaring that "The Presence of Russian troops will be a Red Line for the USA to act". You think that too, hey?

Come on, Harry, the West won't have a choice in this, not now that Kerry's Brain Fart has created an opening for the Russians to offer their troops in the securing of those CW stockpiles, and the Syrians have agreed to that Very Sensible Proposal.

Think about it Think about it Think about it Think about it.

This deal will involve
A) Syria signing the CWC.

The CWC is *not* a UN document = the USA does not have a veto over whether (or not) Syria gets to sign that treaty.

B) Syria then negotiating with the OPCW on how to destroy the existing stockpile.

The OPCW is *not* a UN agency = the USA does not have a veto over what the OPCW and the Syrian government agrees between themselves.

C) Russia offers - and Syria accepts that offer - to secure the existing stockpiles pending their destruction under OPCW oversight.

Now, this is a given: Russia is free to offer its services as it sees fit, and to anyone it likes, and the USA does *not* have a power of veto over whether or not Syria accepts any such offers.

The USA isn't The World Police, and Obama is not God Emperor Of The World.

Kerry's Brain Fart has created a HUGE opening, and Lavrov (who is as smart as Kerry is an idiot) has leapt at the chance that the Brain Fart has presented to him.

The USA can hardly say that it doesn't accept this solution, not when it is a solution that KERRY'S OWN BRAIN FART insists is the only solution that will prevent war.

It's a shit-sandwich, Harry, and in politics if you have to eat a shit-sandwich then the only option is to smile serenely, gulp it all down, and declare that The Reason Why That Was So Delicious Was That It Was Made To My Very Own Recipe!

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 10 2013 12:43 utc | 123

@103: "How it will go - West will make absurd demands, like unlimited and unhindered inspections of everything and anything they want. All military bases and objects, everything. Something like it was in Iraq, nothing short of that will get US to agree. And yet it didnt change anything for the good, only for the worse for Iraq."

Again, that is simply a fundamental misunderstanding of what is being proposed by the Russians, and already accepted by the Syrians.

Syria will sign the CWC treaty, and BY DOING SO will have already defined the inspection regimes that will be put in place i.e. the inspection/verification regime will then be negotiated between the Government of Syria and the OPCW because *that's* *what* *the* *CWC* *says*.

There is no role for "the West" to "make absurd demands", precisely because the UN doesn't have any role in the negotiations that lead up to that inspection/verification regime.

Q: Why not?
A: The CWC is not a UN document, and the OPCW is not a UN agency.

The only wrinkle in this - the only novelty in this latest proposal - is Lavrov's suggestion that an "international force" should secure the stockpile pending its destruction under the OPCW's oversight.

That's it.

That is the **only** opening for "the West" to impose any "absurd demands", because that is the only part of this proposal that requires some ad-hoc arrangements.

Soooo, what is "the West" going to propose, exactly?

That there should be US troops on the ground?
That NATO forces should secure these warehouses?

What, exactly, can they propose that will prevent Russia from offering its services, or which will force Assad to refuse to accept That Very Generous Of Offers?

Posted by: Johnboy | Sep 10 2013 12:58 utc | 124

All interesting stuff. However, regarding: "The bombing of Pan Am 103 was the consequence of Reagan's strikes, not their cause."

I believe it has been reasonably suggested that the Pan Am 103 bombing was in retaliation for the shooting down of Iran Air Flight 655 in July 1988 by the USS Vincennes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iran_Air_Flight_655

http://fair.org/extra-online-articles/lockerbie-in-the-propaganda-system/

Posted by: Emma | Sep 10 2013 14:01 utc | 125

Mr. P.,

One of the main points with Jordan is that is where the main invasion force is going to come in from. With the bombing comes the invasion with tanks and more. Damascus is not that far from the border. Destabilize Jordan and you create major problems for them, and you eliminate their knockout punch.

Posted by: Ozawa | Sep 10 2013 14:27 utc | 126

... discussion on whether Lavrov’s move is positive or negative overall.

It’s good because it scuppers Obomber and some usual culprits, and that is plenty to be going on with for now.

As to Syria’s sovereignity, I think if Syria signs the CW convention (which presumably would happen) and that convention is then followed, with Syria itself stating it wishes to destroy these arms, that is perfectly acceptable, and would even raise Syria’s national status in certain quarters. However it is unlikely to fall out in that simple way, as several have pointed out, there may be all kinds of complications.

What continues to trouble me is that there is no, I repeat no, evidence for any CW attack at all on 21 Aug. Not as far as I can make out.

The Fr ‘declassified’ report is BS cobbled together from ...mostly internet sites. (I commented on it and posted it before.) They claim as evidence analysis of 47 videos and ‘other reports’ (unspecified, undated, no description) that also mention about 1,500 deaths, corresponding to the number quoted by Gareth Porter - 1,429 - (linked also above by some poster(s).)

Porter:

http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/09/obamas-case-for-syria-didnt-reflect-intel-consensus/

which also states the ‘report’ was not intel based but basically fabricated from various sources and wild inspirations.

In short, these ‘reports’, Fr and US, have misleading headings, status, content, etc. and resemble each other.

That these reports are outright prop lies is not being addressed due to the overlay of a ‘blame game’ scenario. Assad did it; No, it was the scummy islamist rebels. False flag, etc. One should resist that argument imho, because all it does is reinforce that some attack took place.

The Brits (an expert on the BBC, yeah...) claims analysis of 70 videos. Yes, there are that many vids, but they document at least 13 months of real or supposed, staged, faked, possibly partly real, vids from all kinds of sources. (Provoked by Obombers red-line speech.)

If I have come to the conclusion that nothing spectacular or important, or possibly anything at all, occurred in the dark night of 21 Aug, everyone else, Gvmts.. secret services, and so on, know it too. They all know it is BS. That is very creepy.

Fr. report. Go to top right and download the first paper (PDF)

http://www.defense.gouv.fr/actualites/articles/programme-chimique-syrien-et-attaque-du-21-aout-2013

Posted by: Noirette | Sep 10 2013 15:05 utc | 127

@ Robert Parry, Gatekeeper and somebody, explainer

"the Israelis seem to prefer having Syria continue bleeding without a clear-cut victor."
"As the New York Times reported Friday, “Mr. Obama’s limited strike proposal has one crucial foreign ally: Israel.”

Gee, isn't that exactly what one of the other lions of leftish gatekeeping Noam Chomsky said in an interview reprinted yesterday? And they BOTH mention the that entity of journalistic integrity the New York Times. How cute.

Gee, Robert Parry and Noam Chomsky toeing the exact same line, huh?

Pay attention, everyone, the official "leftish" line has been created: Israel - ignoring the fact that they have overtly stated over decades that they want Syria to be broken into more manageable sectarian satraps - now is just happy watching - completely UNINVOLVED, mind you (although the nasty 9/11 Saudis are up to their ears in it) - and waiting for Assad to remain in power and Syria remain a viable state.

But these next couple of sentences are my favorite gems and I bet they are somebody's too:

"Remember that Bandar has admitted meeting al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before the 9/11 attacks — and after 9/11, he arranged the quick departure of bin Laden family members from the United States.)"

Wow, Bob thanks for that reminder!!!

Why, doesn't Mr. Parry ALSO ridicule and condemn people for wanting a more accurate and honest investigation into the false flag attacks on 9/11 just like his colleague Mr. Chomsky?

Yes he does.

Somebody, I can always tell when an "explanation" is coming from you when you post an article in its entirety. Sure enough, there will be some gems in it that cast blame AWAY from Israel.

Seriously, you demonstrate that you know how to code HTML links to articles but still feel the need to paste the full text? Dead giveaway.


Posted by: JSorrentine | Sep 10 2013 15:23 utc | 128

128 Noirette, these here are Le Monde photographs from Jobar May 2013, which show rebels with very professional gas masks and already there are claims they get attacked with chemical weapons.

However, main thing, these photographs show a town deserted by civilians.

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 15:24 utc | 129

129 sorry, these here are the photographs with gas masks and the accusation chemical weapons are used - same occasion in Jobar - English text

Posted by: somebody | Sep 10 2013 15:29 utc | 130

Petri Krohn

You are 100% correct, this is a loss for Syria if they agree to this, the war on syria will keep on so what did syria win? Nothing. On top of this, the warmongering obama will be the winner.

Posted by: Anonymous | Sep 10 2013 16:24 utc | 131

I think the Russians made a huge blunder with the timing of this initiative. We are on the verge of having the US Congress, backed by the people, reject Obama’s authorization for military strikes and Lavrov and Putin have preempted it with this move! WTF!

They should have let Congress go ahead and reject the use of military force on Syria and then make this proposal. (I’m working on the assumption that Congress would have rejected it the authorization but I think it really did seem about to happen.)

Sure enough McCain and Shumer have seized on this idea of Syria giving up its CW and are drawing up a new authorization of force that uses the Syrian’s failure to do so as an automatic trigger for US airstrikes on Syria. This authorization is more likely to receive support in Congress because it ties the attack to some hypothetical behavior of the Assad government and let’s congressmen insulate themselves from the decision by having an attack automatic after behavior of other people. I think this authorization will be much harder to resist.

This will either end in an inevitable attack on Syria because it “broke an agreement” or “wouldn’t be reasonable after we gave them a chance”, or a complete submission of Syrian sovereignty to the israelist world police.

Posted by: JBradley | Sep 11 2013 0:12 utc | 132

Harry and Anonymous @103 and 106 Yes! Exactly! I hadn't read your posts and basically just repeated what you said.

Posted by: JBradley | Sep 11 2013 0:22 utc | 133

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