We all hope that the new initiative by Russian President Putin and U.S. President Obama could break the thaw and initiate a new brand of cooperation to advance world peace. Baby steps first come with getting Syria to comply wholly and completely to bring chemical weapons there under control and into a state of managed destruction.
It is a fast track implementation from all appearances as the Syrians “must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week,” according to a report from the Washington Post. The first inspection will begin by November.
Most significant in the WP report is that all of the chemical weapons are warehoused in places that are controlled by the Syrian government.
Taking chemical weapons out of the equation repositions the Assad government to turn the corner in how it handles its civil strife.
Syrian people are divided along religious lines and with the presence of al Qaeda and related factions. The U.S. would not support an outcome that empowers radicalized Muslims. It would not want to support a government aligned with Iran. It would support Syrian moderates who want to push for democratic freedom, should their voices rise above the conflict.
“U.S., Russia reach agreement on seizure of Syrian chemical weapons arsenal
By Anne Gearan, Colum Lynch and Karen DeYoung, Published: September 13 | Updated: Saturday, September 14, 7:18 AM
GENEVA — The United States and Russia agreed Saturday on an outline for the identification and seizure of Syrian chemical weapons and said Syria must turn over an accounting of its arsenal within a week.
The agreement will be backed by a U.N. Security Council resolution that could allow for sanctions or other consequences if Syria fails to comply, Secretary of State John F. Kerry said.
Many members who voted for tough stance on Syria now oppose military action
Kerry said that the first international inspection of Syrian chemical weapons will take place by November, with destruction to begin soon after and be complete by the middle of next year.
“There are timelines in here and it’s an ambitious goal,” Kerry said at a press conference with Lavrov in the hotel where negotiations took place.”