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Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan 362 362

CNN reports that at least for now we may be able to set aside the question of whether and under what authority the U.S. should intervene militarily in Syria, a question that's dominated the news for the last few weeks. From the report: "Facing the threat of a U.S. military strike, the country's leaders Tuesday reportedly accepted a Russian proposal to turn over its chemical weapons. ... The development, reported by Syrian state television and Russia's Interfax news agency, came a day after the idea bubbled up in the wake of what appeared to be a gaffe by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. It quickly changed the debate in Washington from 'Should the U.S. attack?' to 'Is there a diplomatic way out of this mess?' Syrian Foreign Minister Foreign Minister Walid Moallem said Tuesday his country had agreed to the Russian proposal after what Interfax quoted him as calling 'a very fruitful round of talks' with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday. Details of such a transfer have yet to be worked out, such as where the arms would go, who would safeguard them and how the world could be sure Syria had handed over its entire stockpile of chemical weapons."
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Syrian Gov't Agrees To Russian Chem-Weapon Turnover Plan

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @10:55AM (#44808041)
    First they protect a whistle-blower, then they work on getting chemical weapons out of Syria without causing hundreds of thousands of collateral casualties. Yet again Russia is working toward the moral high ground. If they just let up on homosexuals then my cold war anti-communism schooling will begin to unravel.
  • Taken to school (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @10:57AM (#44808061)

    It's hard to see how this isn't a huge win for Putin. Russia gains even more influence in Syria for stopping a US attack. Obama looks weak and indecisive.

    Of course the biggest winner is Syria, which doesn't get bombed. And odds are, they'll get their chem weapons back once the story dies down.

  • by Arker (91948) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:03AM (#44808135) Homepage

    You thought wrong.

    Syria has chemical weapons, and has declined to sign the chemical weapons treaty, so they have every right to keep them. What they have denied (quite credibly) is having *used* them.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:06AM (#44808165)

    It is possible that no one in Assad's forces is responsible. This is a multiparty civil war in which it is quite possible that one group has gained access to these weapons to have a plausible way to strike their enemies and blame the attack on another enemy which is their enemy.

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:07AM (#44808187)
    I think it's important to remember how Assad played Kofi Annan for a chump for weeks near the beginning of this conflict. The whole time, he kept everybody talking, dangling the bait of a peaceful solution- some compromise - while he was using tanks on protesters that were overwhelmingly peaceful, and at worst lightly armed and totally disorganized.

    He may well be doing the same thing now. He has masterfully played the hand he was dealt with delays, and a gradual escalation of tactics and brutality, essentially boiling the frog of public opinion to avoid any one escalation that yields a response. Dictators for decades will study this. I watched the interview last night with Charlie Rose, and I'm pretty convinced that Putin is probably the only major world leader who'd have a chance against this guy in a poker game.
  • LOL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:12AM (#44808245) Homepage

    I want to high five the reporter that asked that question. Holy shit. A single question be a single reporter possibly changing the course of an entire war. Not every day you see that.

  • no brainer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spirit_fingers (777604) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:14AM (#44808263)

    When considering a response to the use of poison gas in Syria, the U.S. has several choices available to it.

    1. Do nothing. This is the least desirable option for most Americans, whether or not they believe we should bomb. A majority prefer some kind of response.

    2. Assuming that gas was used on Assad's orders, punish him by dropping bombs on something important to him, but being careful not to hurt him so badly that his regime fails and Al Qaeda-backed forces assume power.

    3. Resolve the situation diplomatically. Use third parties to pressure Assad to turn over his chemical weapons arsenal to international control.

    A strong case can be made that options 1 and 2 are the least likely to achieve a desirable outcome. That leaves option 3, which as of last Monday has a real chance of happening. The most reasonable course of action appears to be laid out before us. The time is now for Obama to think out of the box, have the courage to reconsider his strategy and show the world that he really did deserve his Nobel Peace Prize.

  • by sribe (304414) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:17AM (#44808295)

    He may well be doing the same thing now.

    The same thing, maybe. But to Vladimir Putin, not Kofi Annan, so I would not expect the same result ;-)

  • by Peter Kingsbury (3046159) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:27AM (#44808419)
    Stalin had nothing to do with it. This was purely Putin's doing.
  • by dbIII (701233) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:30AM (#44808457)
    Or some ruthless bastard that has the weapons could have just used them to win at all costs - no need to look for something complex when there's plenty of simple reasons.
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @11:52AM (#44808733)
    Keep in mind they vetoed any multilateral UN action to keep the peace in Syria. Russia's involvement is no more humanitarian than the US's involvement.

    Good post on this subject from reddit yesterday []. And by "good post" I mean "I have ABSOLUTELY no idea if it's right or not, but it sounds convincing????"
  • by boorack (1345877) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @12:07PM (#44808911)

    I don't think Assad actually did such suicidal step. He might be quite brutal dictator but he and his regime certainly have self preservation instinct. Otherwise he would be overthrown long time ago. My suspicion is that this horrible act was actually done by rebels^H^H^H^H^Hal-Quaeda as act of desperation. Assad regime that has strong motive to avoid such thing at all costs. It was clearly winning this war since taking over Qusair in June this year. Assad army was basically mopping up remaining rebel groups. Carla de Ponte, UN chief inspector digging through Syria CW issues said all things indicate rebels are behind August attack in Damascus, pretty much the same as in Aleppo case, April this year. But (surprise! surprise!) - since she said that, approx. two weeks ago, all mentions of UN Syria inspection magically disappeared from US mainstream media ! And even now, when Russians basically did 'check mate' to US administration, virtually everyone in the sane world is against intervention (except for Israel, Saudi Arabia and some EU politicians paying lip service to their US masters^H^H^H^H^Hcounterparts but passively resisting), Kerry and friends are still in warmongering binge, indicating his 'ultimatum' Syria accepted was "rhetorical". Overthrowing table after getting check-mate doesn't look good.

    My take is this: United States is desperately trying to do a regime change in Syria, regardless of human costs. They basically don't give a crap about civilian casualties and if you don't believe, ask some Libyans how are they since being "liberated" (there are still full fledged atrocities and cleansings in Libya with thousands upon thousands civilian casualties, yet your lovely corporate media "forgot" reporting about this - which is expected, by the way). CW issue was a convenient pretext, yet as it just has fallen apart, your Noble Prize War Monger In Chief will invent another pretext soon. Expect more drastic provocations. Like, for example, rebels attacking targets in Israel, shooting sarin shells from Syria territory and Israel immediately bombing the hell out of Damascus before rest of the world gets aware what's going on (so no diplomacy will be possible to derail invasion plan).

  • by techneeks (1374735) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @12:15PM (#44809011)
    you sir are a polarizing fuck. haven't we discussed this enough that there is no difference between Republican and Democrats? they all want the same things, enslave the people and horde as much power as possible. so please take your ignorant rhetoric somewhere else.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @12:37PM (#44809257)

    I'm curious, why do you take this as a confession, on the part of Assad's regime, that they were responsible for the August attacks?

    At the end of the day he's still a dumb American liberal that will believe whatever the government says. FYI, he bought the Iraq WMD story too and voted for Obama twice.

    Except the Iraq WMD story was a conservative brainchild, dipshit.

    You fucking brain-dead, pap-regurgitating fucking useless wanker.

    That must be why Bill Clinton bombed Iraq in 1998 []:

    CLINTON: Good evening.

    Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

    Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

    Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons. ...

  • WWIII Kickstarter! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @12:43PM (#44809293)

    Kickstart WWIII []

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @01:08PM (#44809601)

    Note that "the Rebels" is NOT a single group. It is a multitude of groups, many with competing interests.

    It might not make sense to kill thousands of your own, but tossing some gas into an area controlled by THOSE OTHER rebels and blaming Assad might work for some of those clowns.

  • by localman57 (1340533) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @01:15PM (#44809683)
    My conclusion is that if he's a better poker player than us, then we shouldn't play poker with him. We either don't play any game, or choose one that plays to our strengths.

    Just because you acknowledge someone's capacities, it doesn't mean that you admire them. To the contrary, my whole point is that we have to understand how he's gotten this far, if we want to have any shot at a positive result.
  • by Aonghus142000 (908581) <durin1.mindspring@com> on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @01:18PM (#44809717) Journal

    Actually chemical weapons are much more damaging to civilians than they are to the military. A chemical weapons attack will degrade a military unit's effectiveness (although it tends to degrade both sides equally,) but beyond the odd slow or unlucky soldier, it is unlikely to cause more than a handful of casualties.

    Civilian populations, OTOH, tend to lack the protective gear and training in using it necessary to exist in a chemical environment. Not having a gas mask during a chemical attack is a bad way to be.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @01:39PM (#44809921) Journal
    That doesn't make sense either, if Obama wanted to attack Syria, he more excuse to do so than he did in Libya, because the war has bled over into our ally country of NATO (Turkey). There is no real good way to explain the actions of the Obama administration. Overall the actions of the administration seem misdirected and incompetent.

    Which is the worst part of the entire situation. Even if you favor getting rid of Assad, do you really want an incompetent administration to go around flinging a giant weapon? It's like the Iraq war, I fully opposed the Iraq war, but even then, I'm willing to admit that if Bush 1 or Clinton had been engaging that war, it would have gone off a lot better.
  • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday September 10, 2013 @02:42PM (#44810717) Homepage Journal

    The problem is that no matter what chemical weapons were used, the rebels could have gotten not only the weapons, but the launchers from whoever provided them. There are many countries in the world with chemical weapons and launchers for them. Any one of them could, theoretically, have provided the rebels with such arms in order to launch a false-flag attack in hopes the Syrian government would be attacked by the US and others in response.

    There are several theories as to who might have done so that I've read, all of which are as reasonable (at least) as the idea of Assad suicidally using chemical weapons despite the threat of US intervention made long before they were used.

    I don't think anyone knows who used them, except those who used them. And they're not telling.

    I place absolutely zero faith in US "intelligence reports" after their WMD debacle for Iraq.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)