Syria arms offer: Game changer or morass?

 
US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks during a press conference with Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague, (not pictured) at the the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 9 September 2013 Mr Kerry also suggested Syria should destroy its chemical weapons, then appeared to dismiss the idea

The proposal to destroy Syria's chemical weapons could be a one-day wonder, but it could also be a game changer.

It could get President Barack Obama off the hook as he looks down the barrel of a likely defeat in Congress.

Or it could leave him in a worse morass than before if the offer is accepted but Bashar al-Assad plays games with weapons inspectors.

The ghost of Iraq still hovers over this conflict.

It is also difficult to say at the moment if the quick succession of Secretary of State John Kerry's musings, the Russian offer, UN encouragement and apparent Syrian acceptance are careful choreography or not.

The White House briefing, which happens soon, will be very important. Watch this space.

 
Mark Mardell, North America editor Article written by Mark Mardell Mark Mardell North America editor

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  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 29.

    It's an nice attempt by Putin to save the embarrassment of another Russian client getting kicked by the U.S , and Obama is probably fervently wishing Assad will go for it and save him from a potentially humiliating voter by Congress, but Assad is unlikely to go for it. He still thinks he can win the Syrian civil war and therefor doesn't have to give up anything.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 28.

    I think this is a good get out temporary option. It is not a solution to the problem, that comes from negotiation.
    If it is good if genuine from Russia, it is progress.
    Assad's comments on US TV didn't say the atrocities of 21st were committed by him, which insinuates it was an independent decision taken by the Military. No one wins without Arab Intervention, Sort out Shia & Sunni et al!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 27.

    A Game Changer? Mr Mardell, this is anything but a game.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 26.

    24. Forgive me. I don't know what came over me. I know oh a few non-stupid men. I mean,...

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 25.

    #24 "OMG men are so stupid. It's amazing we've survived this long." If it hadn't been for women we wouldn't have.

    (Note: This is not an opinion, simply a biological fact . . .).

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 24.

    Morass and moronic. OMG men are so stupid. It's amazing we've survived this long.

  • rate this
    -9

    Comment number 23.

    Russia is as weak as a kitten.Its nuclear arsenal even if it still works is useless because to use it is national suicide.Putin is all bluff and bluster.When push comes to shove nothing that blowhard says or does matters.His country is outclassed by the US every which way their is.If he's your ally, don't rely on him to save you if you provoke the US the way Assad did.No earthly being can help you

  • rate this
    -7

    Comment number 22.

    The only reason the offer was made at all is because President Obama is serious and the enemy knows nobody including Congress can stop him.Will this offer to buy him off work? Did the Nobel Peace Prize committee's efforts to buy him off work? Russia, how about throwing in Snowden to sweeten the deal? And how about Putin kissing Obama's backside in public acknowledging why he surrendered?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 21.

    The big problem is that this proposal has been mooted by Russia and Assad, neither of whom anyone in their right mind would trust. It also leaves Assad effectively unpunished. The Americans should go ahead with their strike and bear this in mind for later.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 20.

    w...anchors

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 19.

    Russia and Syria are desperate to avoid a US attack.Had the offer been made before he killed 1500 people and wounded thousands of others it might have worked.But this action cannot be given a free pass. Destroy the weapons after the means to deliver them have been destroyed also.Will Assad play cat and mouse with inspectors the way Saddam Hussein did.The offer should be seen as too little too late

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 18.

    how can we believe what assad and his people say. they could be saying they will consider handing over there chemical weapons, but they may also be buying time. they will probably go on slaughtering more civilians while he plays stalling tactics with the UN. he must stop immediately this massacre as part of the process, and troops from UN should be placed on the ground in syria to monitor it

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 17.

    As long as Pres. Obama abides by the outcome of the Congressional vote, both he and the US have effectively 'won'. The larger issue is to preserve and strengthen the democratic process, and by taking the issue to Congress then abiding by its decision, Obama will prove that democracy works; thus strengthening Western democracies. This is more important than 'punishing' a mentally unstable despot.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 16.

    Don't know. Could go either way.

    I wonder if the Russians ever seriously considered the prospect of the U.S. not acting? It might change their calculus a bit.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 15.

    1. I think that 'must' is a matter of perspective. While it would be nice I can't imagine it happening anymore than a nuclear-weapon free world sadly. But if Assad did indeed hand over his stock it would show true intent and shine light on the nations that keep their stock pile especially those who preach otherwise. Violence isn't the answer but that thought amuses me albeit in a very twisted way.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 14.

    Russia has gave Obama an encouraging solution to his defeat of congress he must take up this solution or face an embarrassing situation that can cost him very dearly within his presidency now and in the future.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 13.

    well you have to teach the people in the middle east .the young people in the street what fairnessis.regardless how s right or wrong middle east has be whats right for all not for one group not for one nation not for one country but for all middle east

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 12.

    Strangely, elsewhere on the Interwebs, this was also a solution proposed by an ex US marine.


    My own is:

    Dear Leaders,
    A general ceasefire and a no preconditions conference would also be nice. Very soon please.

    TYIA
    D.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 11.

    The Russian proposal deserves serious consideration otherwise the US is mindlessly hell bent on war pushed by the Israeli lobby. Already an Obama spokesman has belittled the Russian proposal for international control of Syria's chemical weapons because Assad has never admitted to having them. Well then neither has Israel ever admitted to having nuclear WMDS! Selective bias?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 10.

    Our politicos must work harder to stop wars that are so easy to start.May be if their kids are in the military they`d be less quick.

 

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