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Russia Proposes International Control of Syrian Gas Warfare Stockpile

Updated on September 9, 2013

It was hinted at by the U.S. Secretary of State. John Kerry, that if the international community controlled Syria's vast chemical weapon stockpile, the US would not need to punish Assad from using it, which killed 1400 people.

This was a good week ago. Now, as the deadline draws near for some sort of action, Russia sends Assad the same proposal to avert an attack or face the US attack. Assad has indicated he is interested in the idea. The UN agrees but wants to go even further and destroy the stockpiles. The US is open to the idea because they know US troops would have to enter Syria to do the same.

President Obama is facing more and more resistance to the idea of the attack, so, this would be a legitimate way out. Yet, even this proposal has serious issues with it. What would be the timeline? weeks? months? Who would be in charge of removing and destroying the weapons? How would the security of them be secure from those extreme elements in Syria? There is always the danger of theft of them, even accidental use of them. There is the threat of attacks upon those trying to secure them or remove them, after all, al-Qaeda's Nusra group is the strongest of the rebel forces there, what makes anyone think they will just sit idly by and allow the weapons to go? They would love to get a few of them. These rebel forces could easily cause problems with the removal of them or just securing them. Then, there is no way to be certain all of them are accounted for. Then there is Iran. What if the deal could only be approved by Syria if Iran is among the nations? I doubt if the US would agree to this. Even Russian troops there would not be trusted by the West. Yet, Assad would not allow NATO troops in. Thus, only the UN would probably be allowed in and the UN wants not just to remove them but destroy them. Of course, if there was a deal, Syria could easily have a hidden stash hidden away for future use-undetected, for later use after everyone has gone. Iran would no doubt like to obtain some of them as well to pass onto Hezbollah or others.

The proposal is intriguing and seems to be the solution but like anything in Syria, it, too, has a host of issues where things can go terribly wrong causing more conflict. Even if everything works out, Assad remains in power and killing more and more civilians against his regime, The war continues and the slaughter.

If Obama rejects the Russian offer, then Obama is thinking more than just punishment for Assad using gas on Aug. 21. He is thinking of a limited campaign to degrade Assad and his ability to hurt the rebels from the air and in command and control. If Assad's ability is damaged enough, the rebels will have more leverage and chance of overthrowing Assad, at least in theory. In short, Obama wants to "level the playing field" for a "fair" fight. Of course, nothing is fair in warfare, so, if the US is going to punish Assad for using gas, either target Assad or make it so that damage is great and crippling.

Removing the chemical weapons from Syria is only one element of the war. It would not solve the war or stop it. Only a political change in some major way will end it. If Russia would join the West instead of treating this as a "cold war" event, Assad would have to settle in some way, Until that happens, it will go on.

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    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      5 years ago

      True, but still a mess.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Least objectionable options. Those are the only choices we have ever had in the Middle East. There was a time when the LOO was a guy named Sadaam Hussein.

    • perrya profile imageAUTHOR

      perrya 

      5 years ago

      While everyone hopes the plan accepted by Syria works, the logistics is very complicated and dangerous because of the civil war. Removing the weapons is dangerous in peace, finding them all, not just most, is another issue, getting the thousands of security forces from other countries into lebanon into Syria is filled with danger. The damascus airport is closed essentially. Iran controls Hezbollah in Lebanon and the main road to Syria. some think Assad agreed to buy time or save his regime and once the weapons are gone, Russia could easily and secretly send them more. Assad is unlikely to give up his poor man's atomic bomb, VX gas, which is so deadly. Syria feels this counters Israel's nukes. The odds of actually doing this in a timely manner seems to make it moot. Something WILL go terribly wrong.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      This solution brings to mind how we avoided WWIII during the Cuban missile crisis of the 1960s: President Kennedy ignored a second offer from Russia, pretending he never got it, and accepted a previous offer.

      Who cares how screwed up this process has been if we end up with the result we want: taking chemical weapons out of Syria.

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