Instead of bombing Syria and seeing what happened next (the original Obama plan) an agreement has been worked out at the UN Security Council for Syria to give up its chemical weapons. The central negotiations are alleged to have been between the United States and Russia. A vote could come as early as Friday evening if the Executive Council of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons approves a plan for the destruction of Syria’s poison gas arsenal beforehand.
The agreement emerged from intense negotiations at the United Nations with Russia, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chief ally. The aim was to craft a measure to require destruction of Syria’s chemical arsenal in line with a U.S.-Russian deal reached earlier this month that averted American strikes on Assad’s forces in the midst of a bloody civil war.
Western powers on the Security Council backed away from many of their initial demands, diplomats say, in order to secure Russia’s approval. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said an “understanding” had been hammered out, but gave no details.
The Russians had strong reservations about including an authorization of military force in the proposal. The new version is said to include a provision denoting that if Syria fails to comply a new vote will have to be taken before military force is authorized. That new vote will be subject to a possible Russian veto.
There is also a provision for “accountability” for those who launched the chemical weapons attack on August 21st – though there remains disagreement over whether the rebel forces or Assad government launched the attack.
Assad agreed to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons amid an international outcry over a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus last month – the world’s deadliest chemical attack in 25 years. Washington has blamed Assad’s forces for the attack, which it said killed more than 1,400 people, and President Barack Obama threatened a U.S. military strike in response.
Russia and Assad have blamed the attack on rebels battling to overthrow him in a civil war that, according to the United Nations, has left more than 100,000 people dead.
Definitive proof that either side ordered the attack is lacking and many U.S. members of Congress were not impressed by the classified evidence the Obama Administration presented to prove Assad ordered the attack.
Nonetheless it seems through an odd series of events we may have a deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria.